The Australian Government and the international community must support the Nepalese Government to grasp a golden opportunity to rebuild the country to be more resilient to future disasters, Oxfam said ahead of a donors’ conference in Kathmandu today.
Two months on from the first massive earthquake, people still need humanitarian aid, but the focus must also expand to rebuilding – not just homes, but also livelihoods and basic services.
Today the Government of Nepal will host governments and international organisations from around the world at its first donors’ conference since the disaster, and it is essential that those present prioritise these areas of the recovery.
Oxfam Australia Chief Executive Dr Helen Szoke said the conference was the best opportunity for donors to help get people back on their feet and better prepared for the future.
“This can only happen if the Government of Nepal is supported to create new jobs, build improved basic services like hospitals and clinics, and to ensure all new buildings are earthquake-resilient,” Dr Szoke said.
“Oxfam welcome’s Australia’s generous funding to date, including $10m for recovery and reconstruction, but with the Nepali government estimating reconstruction costs in the billions, we urge the Australian Government to provide additional support to a long-term investment plan.”
Oxfam Australia’s Nepal Response Manager Richard Simpson said donors and the Government of Nepal needed to agree a long-term investment plan to rebuild stronger and get people back on their feet.
“The Nepalese people know their needs better than anyone and their voices must be heard when donors meet in Kathmandu. They have been through an ordeal, and now it is time to start rebuilding lives,” Mr Simpson said.
Since 25 April, Oxfam and its partner organisations in Nepal have delivered essential aid to more than 270,000 people in seven of the worst-affected districts. This aid has included emergency shelters, hygiene kits, clean water and food and sanitation facilities.
Lajana Manandhar, Executive Director of Lumanti, a Nepali organisation which works with Oxfam, said it was important to be prepared for future disasters.
“Being prepared works. Together with Oxfam we have trained over 2,000 volunteers in communities, equipping them with the right tools and skills so they can react quickly in case of a disaster,” Ms Manandhar said.
“Within a few hours of the earthquake, volunteers were helping rescue survivors, administering First Aid, building latrines and even mending water pipes in the Kirtipur area of Kathmandu.”
Jagan Nath Kurmi, Chairperson of the National Network of Community Disaster Management Committee (NCDMC), reiterated the need for preparedness.
“We hope the delegates will discuss how Nepal can be supported to protect its people from other disasters in the future,” Mr Kurmi said.
“There must be a strong disaster management law that provides adequate resources for preparing for future disasters. Now we have the opportunity to really make this happen.”
For interviews with Helen Szoke, Richard Simpson (in Nepal) or more information, please contact Angus Hohenboken on 0428 367 318 or firstname.lastname@example.org