by ram khatry
4 May 2015 2:20 PM AEST: Nepal has called on the international community to help it put together a fund of $2 billion for the ‘rehabilitation and reconstruction’ of the earthquake-ravaged country.
According to a report of the Asian Development Bank, Nepal’s finance minister Dr Ram Sharan Mahat told a gathering of development partners in Azerbaijan that his government is ‘now preparing the groundwork for medium to long-term reconstruction efforts by setting up a $2 billion National Reconstruction Fund’.
The Government of Nepal has already earmarked $200 million from its ‘own resources’ and now needs its development partners to help with the remaining $1800 million.
“We are counting on our development partners to fill the gap,’’ the ADB report released from Baku quoted Mr Mahat as saying.
He lamented that the ‘momentum’ Nepal had gained so far ‘for the next generation of economic reforms’ have been put on a reverse gear by the 7.9 magnitude earthquake of April 25.
He told the delegates that the tragedy hit Nepal at a time when the nation had just been ‘gearing up for a higher trajectory of economic growth’ following “decades of policy and political uncertainty’.
ADB has already released a $3 million grant to support the relief operations. It has announced that it will provide up to $200 million of additional resources for reconstruction. It can also reallocate up to $300 million from existing ADB projects in Nepal to the humanitarian cause, the report said.
Information minister Minendra Rijal told media last week that the government would provide $1,000 immediately for every victim killed by the earthquake plus $400 for the last rites.
The April 25 earthquake death toll is now likely to surpass a similar natural disaster (earthquake) which hit Nepal in 1934 when 8,500 people were killed.
A local media reported yesterday that the Nepal government then had provided Rs 100 ($1.22) as relief assistance but things are much different in the expensive world of 2015.
The United Nations has said the earthquake has left 8 million people affected, with at least 2 million people who will need help in the forms of tents, water, food and medicines for at least three months to come.