Nepal to get US$ 3 billion for quake reconstruction
- International donors offer Nepal half of the estimated S$ 6.7 billion for reconstruction
- India is the biggest donor with US$ one billion, followed by China with US$ 483 million
- Quake likely to be a setback for Nepal’s progress on Millennium Development Goals
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[KATHMANDU] International donors and agencies have pledged close to US$ three billion to help rebuild earthquake hit Nepal at the International Conference on Nepal’s Reconstruction organised in Kathmandu on 25 June.
The funds are less than half of the US$ 6.7 billion that the Post-Disaster Needs Assessment prepared by the Nepal Planning Commission estimated for reconstruction.
Nepal’s southern neighbour, India, pledged the largest donation of US$ one billion, a fourth of it as grant. India’s foreign minister Sushma Swaraj said the two countries needed to work together in the wake of calamities. “Flash floods in our common rivers wreak havoc among communities in both countries. Therefore, we need to closely coordinate our disaster response,” she said.
China’s foreign minister Wang Yi said his country would provide US$ 483 million while Japan said it would give US$ 260 million, mainly for rebuilding schools, housing and community infrastructure. The US pledged US$ 200 million, while the European Union is to provide US$112 million for budgetary support.
Both the Nepal government and the international community laid stress transparency. “We are committed to ensure that transparency remains at the core of the reconstructions efforts,” said Nepal Prime Minister Sushil Koirala.
The magnitude 7.8 earthquake on 25 April followed by another temblor on 12 May and numerous aftershocks left 9,000 people dead and rendered hundreds of thousands more homeless.
Koirala said reconstruction called for robust partnerships with the international community. “We have done what we could with relief supplies and now want partnerships to restore permanency in their (earthquake survivors’) lives.”
Nepal was set to achieve several of the UN Millennium Development Goals by year end, including the halving of absolute poverty, said finance minister Ram Sharan Mahat. “This earthquake has halted the momentum and upset the nation’s high aspirations for rapid progress — thousands more people may fall below the poverty line without swift recovery of livelihoods.”
Nepal’s economic growth for 2015 is expected to be the lowest in eight years. “We are looking to our development partners to fill a growing fiscal gap for the next 3—5 years since the fall in internal revenue collection will affect our efforts to ramp up reconstruction,” Mahat added.