The following article was originally published on May 14, 2015 in The Himalayan Times. Please click here to be directed to the original post.
United Nations Resident Coordinator in Nepal Jamie McGoldrick today said Nepal Earthquake Flash Appeal for $423 million got responses only for 15 per cent of the amount sought from the donors and international community today.
Speaking at a press conference, McGoldrick said his office would intensify consultations with the donor agencies and international community in the next few days to shore up support for Nepal’s earthquake victims. When asked why there had been lukewarm response to the UN and its humanitarian partners’ Flash Appeal for Nepal’s quake victims, McGoldrick said one reason could be that the agencies involved in search and rescue operation were about to complete their assigned tasks.
Nepal’s former permanent representative to the United Nations Jayraj Acharya said the UN Flash Appeal failed to get encouraging response from the donor agencies and international community because of its weak campaign and Government of Nepal’s weak credibility in mobilising relief materials. “UN bureaucracy is not much different from ours as far as its campaigns are concerned. UN’s role in mobilising support for quake victims in Haiti was not very effective,” he said. Acharya said government’s insistence on carrying out relief works through one window system also did not go well with the donors and international community.
“Donors want their money to go directly to the needy people. They do not want cumbersome distribution of relief materials. They do not want three or four authorities endorsing the relief distribution process,” he added. Nepal’s former ambassador to India Bhesh Bahadur Thapa said donors’ tendency to take direct credit for their assistance could be one reason why UN Flash Appeal failed to get encouraging response from the donors and international community for Nepal’s quake victims. “We can see international community’s prompt bilateral response in the search, rescue and relief operation,” he said and added that the donors wanted to take credit for their assistance and therefore they were more interested to give bilateral assistance than putting their money into a UN fund. “When a country puts its money into a UN fund, people cannot easily see which country made what contribution and this is the reason countries are not very eager to commit their assistance to a UN fund,” Thapa added.
McGoldrick said the international community, the Government of Nepal and local communities were carrying out search, rescue and relief works but ferrying relief materials to far flung areas of 14 worst affected districts was becoming difficult due to difficult terrain. The April 25 earthquake and major aftershocks have only worsened the quake victims’ problems, he added. McGoldrick said the humanitarian assistance providers also wanted to ensure that the quake victims received adequate relief supplies in their own areas so that they do not lose a chance to grow future crops in their own areas. “If the quake victims fail to grow crops, then they may rely on international assistance for relatively longer period.”