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The Himalayan Tragedy
The Nepal earthquake has not only brought response teams from Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bhutan and India working together but demonstrated the power of regional cooperation writes Monish Gulati for South Asia Monitor   
 

Boorish Indians have a tendency to disrespect populations not living in the white powerhouses of Europe & USA. 

 

The April 25 earthquake in Kathmandu Valley in Nepal has not only killed more than 6,000 lives and injured more than 14,000 people but has also impacted severely the country’s most iconic edifices and UNESCO World Heritage Sites. We now know that centuries-old pagoda temples have crumbled, statues have been thrown off high pedestals, and watchtowers have been reduced to fragments.

 

A devastating earthquake struck in central and western parts of Nepal on April 25, 2015. By now, the death toll from the tremor measuring 7.8 on the Richter scale has crossed more than seven thousand people, with many more wounded. More than six million people in the 25 districts -- one person in every three households -- have been directly affected from the quake. The damages of physical properties have been colossal.

 

On April 25, the Nepal Rastra Bank issued a circular that said that all international contributions to bank accounts opened after this date would be re-directed to the Prime Minister's Relief Fund. The circular did not explain the purpose for this regulation. But many legitimate purposes were conceivable at the time: to prevent money laundering or misappropriation of funds.

 

Ruins. The word best describes the aftermath of the recent deadly earthquakes that devastated nearly a dozen districts in the central development region, including the capital city, last Saturday, leaving thousands dead, millions displaced and as many panic-stricken. By the time we managed to run to safety on that ominous day, we were so blessed with the feeling of triumph over death that we had no time to think if anyone could do anything to help us. By the time nature's wrath began to subside, we rose to the occasion and started helping each other. The government—as always—proved to be unreliable actor to look up to during difficult times. Each victim has their stories of horror. I have my own.

 

The disaster that struck Nepal on Saturday has made it clear that we have the most inept and incompetent government in the world. Sheepishly, the government has admitted that there have been many shortcomings in relief efforts but there is no evidence that it has learned from its mistakes. Those severely affected are yet to receive relief material. Forget rural areas; even those affected in Kathmandu are yet to feel government presence.

 

As I finished writing condolence letters to my Nepalese colleagues and friends, who fortunately were spared from the deadly earthquake though some had to take shelter in tents for the whole week, I began to learn about earthquakes as a layman: Why it happens and what should be done to save ourselves from such havoc. 

 

Rarely has a country become the victim of a monumental natural catastrophe at a time when its politics remains paralyzed and much of its institutions dysfunctional. This is the situation Nepal finds itself in the aftermath of a 7.8-point mega-earthquake that struck the country on April 25. Besides killing thousands and displacing millions, the temblor also caused immense damage to the country's development infrastructure and demolished much of its historic sites and archeological treasures.

 

Today is day six of the emergency and the search and rescue period, at least in Kathmandu, is past its peak. Two days ago, I went to the Dharahara, the minaret style lookout tourist tower where quite a few people died—there was no sign of anyone still doing search and rescue (SandR). Clearly, there has been little, probably no, SandR in rural areas where it is most needed.

 


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