By Sadiya Hamza
UNITED NATIONS – UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon on Friday called for urgent support for the people of Nepal.
He made the appeal in New York during the General Assembly debate on Nepal.
He said the Flash Appeal launched on April 28 called for 423 million dollars to support the people of Nepal through immediate life-saving response phase.
The appeal, he said, was currently only 14 per cent funded at about 60 million dollars.
The UN scribe said this includes 15 million dollars allocated from the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), noting that an additional 365 million dollars was urgently needed.
“Needless to say, the 14 per cent funding is far from sufficient.
“Let us resolve to do more and better; we are overwhelmed by an unprecedented number of humanitarian challenges around the world.
“Humanitarian partners urgently need funds to be able to do their work.’’
Ban said that over the past three weeks, the lives of eight million Nepalese had been changed beyond recognition.
He said that with the monsoon season starting in June, there was an urgent need to make sure that nearly half a million people receive emergency shelter before the rains start in earnest.
He added that heavy rain and hail were already affecting people living in tents.
He explained that the monsoon season was also a planting season “and if farmers are unable to prepare their land and plant their fields, next year’s harvest will be severely affected.’’
The secretary general said some areas in Nepal had lost almost all their water and sanitation facilities “and there is real danger that heavy rains could result in major epidemic.
“I cannot stress enough the importance of getting aid, including clean water and sanitation supplies, to everyone in need within the next few weeks.
“Even as we deal with these pressing needs, we must look ahead, from emergency assistance to support for recovery and development; emergency relief is never enough.
“Saving people’s lives is important but people must also be able to sustain their livelihoods; they want a future.
“Nepal has been torn apart and the years of development gains wiped out. The tens of thousands of people brought out of poverty are now at risk of falling back, while basic social services such as healthcare and education have been interrupted.’’
He said that the housing sector, power generation, communications and tourism have all suffered badly and that there were clear lessons emerging about building risk awareness and reduction into the reconstruction effort.
Ban said that discussion between the government, the European Union, development banks and the UN were already underway and plans for an initial post-disaster needs assessment were in progress.
This assessment, he said, covered both the economic and social losses so as to bring partners together behind a single, government-led recovery plan.
“Our efforts in Nepal, therefore, must be ambitious, long-term and risk-informed if they are to protect against future losses.
“This is the first major natural disaster to strike since the international agreement on disaster risk reduction was reached in Sendai in March.’’
A key component of that agreement, he said, is a commitment to undertake a resilient recovery approach in the event of a disaster.
“We must now support Nepal in translating this new global framework into action.
“I am pleased and encouraged by the solidarity shown by member states to Nepal at this critical time.’’
A 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck Nepal on April 25, leaving 8,000 people dead and more than double that number injured.
A second 7.3-magnitude earthquake struck again on May 12, claiming more lives and injuring others.
Ban then expressed his sincere condolences to everyone who lost beloved family members, friends and colleagues in the disasters which destroyed more than 400,000 homes and damaged another 280,000. (NAN)
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