Media raised the subject before but a visiting delegation of German parliamentarians has voiced the most direct criticism so far of the Nepalese government’s failure to fulfil its promise of ‘homes’ for the April 25 earthquake survivors.
“What is the local political leadership doing?,” a cold, hard question put by Dagmar Wöhrl who is the chairperson of the Committee on Economic Cooperation and Development of German Federal Parliament. She and seven of her colleagues arrived in Kathmandu last Tuesday on a five-day tour to assess ‘progress’ in the post-earthquake reconstruction and rehabilitation activities.
And the Germans weren’t impressed by what they witnessed in Nepal, reports in the vernacular media suggest. It is noteworthy that in the aftermath of the 7.8 magnitude temblor last year, Germany had pledged 30 million euros grant assistance to Nepal.
Ms Wöhrl told journalists during a press conference in Kathmandu that the Germany parliament is soon going to debate what have been achieved so far in the reconstruction and rehabilitation activities and what remained to be done. The discussion in the Bundestag, the German national parliament, will be held to mark the first anniversary of the April earthquake, she said during yesterday’s press conference.
The international scrutiny is certainly going to put pressure on the Nepalese government to do more than what it is currently doing. Australian parliamentarian Sam Dastyari, who recently visited Nepal’s quake-affected areas, also expressed similar concern recently when he spoke about his visit in the senate, although in much more diplomatic terms.
The visiting German parliamentarians in particular put a question mark on Nepal’s political leadership over the lack of homes for the earthquake survivors, nearly a year since the April 25 disaster flattened their properties.
According to a local daily, Mr Wöhrl lamented that there have been ‘little work’ in relation to the Nepalese government’s pledge of homes for the now-homeless victims.
It is understood that the delegation also met with the National Reconstruction Authority but only to find out that the body is still busy formulating rules and regulations rather than doing the actual reconstruction and rehabilitation work it was created to do. What is worse, questions are already being raised about the integrity of the head of the NRA, Sushil Gyewali. His name has found a mention by Nepal’s top anti-corruption authority, the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority.
According to Ms Wöhrl, “spending merely 13 per cent of foreign support is not simply enough”, The Himalayan Times reported.