-- It’s over a week now, 8th
day of a massive tragedy that struck Nepal, an impoverished nation that is
counted among the least developed, killing around 7000 and injuring over 14000.
Many remote areas are still unreachable. Houses in the worst affected regions
are completely flattened. Scores are still missing and the final figure after search,
rescue and relief operation is expected to be much higher.
-- According to a The Guardian report,
Nepal’s customs laws are working as hindrance in the effective distribution of the
relief material. Material is piled up at Tribhuvan airport but is not reaching
the intended people. Nepal is pleading for food materials to be used for
cooking, and not instant noodles and biscuits. It is also requesting the world
community for tents and tarpaulin sheets which it made tax-free yesterday only.
Responsible people of the Nepal government, who in the very beginning said that
they would not be able to meet the needs after the disaster if the
international help didn’t come, have, so far, failed to streamline the process
-- Aftermath of the quake is one of the
many inept responses of the Nepali government. Government apathy and
administrative corruption allowed Kathmandu to be an unorganized mess. And now,
such factors are in play even here. It is hard to believe when The Guardian
reports that a village just 26 Kms west of Kathmandu, Chhatrepati (in Dhading
district) is yet to receive the relief material. The Guardian quotes the
residents of the village where every house if severely damaged in the
-- While the international response has
been overwhelming, many thousands of Nepalis are now a disgruntled lot. And
that is because of the Nepal government only. Things needed for relief were to be
exempted from the tax-regime of the country much ago, when the earthquake struck
with a severe blow, but the ‘responsible’ people are still issuing advisories
after being reminded of.
-- While there are no houses, families
of the victims who lost their family-members in the earthquake are getting
tents and tarpaulin sheets or priority basis. But the people who have lost all,
except anyone from the family, are not getting the same treatment from the
-- Allegations of corruption and
nepotism in relief work are increasing by the day. People with influential ties
are cornering the relief material while many in the need are left behind.
-- Teams are yet to reach many mountainous
reasons in the interior of Nepal. These places have seen some airdropping of
relief material but earthquake has isolated such regions from the world,
cutting road ties and snapping communication infrastructure. Even miraculous
stories of survival would not be expected from such places after so many days.
What we wish for is speedy rehabilitation and reconstruction process in
universal terms, and not in Nepal’s ways.
-- In many districts, infrastructure of schools,
hospitals and other basic civic amentias are so wiped out that reconstruction will
take long and it is going to be a challenge for the administration to restart
the comatose process.
-- Hospitals, health-centers and
make-shift medical units are overflowing with people and there are valid fears
of an epidemic, induced by different diseases. Kathmandu, that is expected to
see maximum deaths in a single place due to its unorganized mess, looks like a
big refugee camp of many small units. And stench of human faces and urine are
common from these ‘small units’.
-- Government needs to acts fast on such
valid concerns as Monsoon rains are just around the corner. Government also
needs to factor in the psychological well-being of the people while requesting
them to move to normalcy. They are traumatized and continued aftershocks have
made them believe that returning to their houses will take long, probably after
Monsoon. According to the UNICEF, the government has ‘a small window of time for rescuers to make arrangements to protect
people from a disease-induced epidemic’.
-- Nepal continued to have tremors of aftershocks
today, like every other day. It is scientifically projected that Nepal would continue
to feel aftershocks for months to come. Two aftershocks recorded today were of
5.1 and 4.5 in magnitude.
-- Along with aftershocks and bad weather,
that also includes rains, landslides and avalanches are further hampering the
R&R work, especially in rural areas.
NEPAL EARTHQUAKE: UPDATES SO FAR – ON