Outdoor gear retailer REI is doing their part to aid Nepal in their rebuilding effort by opening a disaster relief center.
Source: Nepal: Kathmandu and Pokhara
NEPAL — Despite being diagnosed and treated for cancer, former US President Jimmy Carter is expected to travel to Nepal to witness a major project that the Habitat for Humanity organization is staging.
Former Pres. Jimmy Carter
Habitat said a medical team will be with Carter as he celebrates the nonprofit’s 32nd annual Habitat for Humanity Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Work Project. The project will take place November 1 to 6 in Chitwan district, about 100 miles from the capital, Kathmandu, which suffered tremendously in an earthquake earlier this year.
Carter and his wife have been giving a week of their time for this kind of project annually for three decades.
About 1,500 volunteers from Nepal and around the world will help construct permanent homes in the Nayabasti Gairigaun village. “A majority of these families are Dalits, who are considered the lowest group in the Nepali caste system,” according to a news release from Habitat for Humanity. Many Dalits earn $5 to $7 a day working as construction laborers, farmers or garbage collectors, Habitat said. Some have jobs at a poultry farm.
During the previous 31 projects, more than 92,000 volunteers have built, renovated and repaired 3,943 homes in 14 countries, according to Habitat.
“We are so excited that President and Mrs. Carter are going to be able to join us. Their involvement has inspired millions of people around the world to share our vision of a world where everyone has a decent place to call home,” said Jonathan Reckford, CEO of Habitat for Humanity International. “The two of them bring such energy and enthusiasm to our mission and we look forward to their participation for many more years to come.”
Students protest near the Indian Embassy against the blockade of cargo trucks along the border with India in Kathmandu on Monday.
At first India was publicly unhappy with the new constitution that its Himalayan neighbor passed last week. Then Indian trucks carrying cooking fuel, gasoline, salt, sugar and rice stopped crossing the border with Nepal after local protests erupted against the new charter.
The result: There is now a groundswell of anger against India in Nepal, a country still struggling to recover from the devastating earthquake in April that killed over 9,000 people and left tens of thousands more homeless.
The Nepali people are accusing India of punishing them by deliberately blocking the supply of essential goods. What makes matters worse is that the landslides caused by the earthquake have destroyed alternate supply routes from China and increased the landlocked nation’s reliance on imports from India.
People in Nepal are calling it the “unofficial economic blockade by India.”
On Monday, Nepal’s Home Ministry said the country is facing an “emergency” situation in fuel supply. Long lines are a common sight at gas stations across the country. Angry protesters are shouting anti-India slogans on the streets. Nepal’s cable television association has stopped showing 42 Indian news and entertainment channels across the country because of rising anger among the people.
Indian officials say that there is no official embargo and that the truck drivers carrying goods are afraid of going into Nepal because of the violent demonstrations by the ethnic minority groups living in the country’s southern plains. The groups, considered close to Indians, are seeking greater political power in the new constitution.
Dozens of people have been killed in the protests. “The reported obstructions are due to unrest, protests and demonstrations on the Nepalese side, by sections of their population,” Vikas Swarup, India’s foreign ministry spokesman, said last week. But analysts in Nepal contest the Indian statement.
The head of the Nepal Workers and Peasants Party, Narayan Man Bijukchhe, said India has declared a “communal war” with Nepal. The former attorney general in Kathmandu, Yubaraj Sangraula, called the lack of supplies “an act of aggression.”
The shortage of fuel and goods has brought back horrific memories for many people in Nepal who suffered an official economic blockade by India in 1989. New Delhi shut down border crossings into Nepal and cut off links to an Indian port after a trade dispute. That blockade lasted 13 months.
Current supplies may only last a matter of weeks
Massive protests and a diplomatic confrontation between India and Nepal over the latter’s new constitution has resulted in trucks carrying goods and fuel from India to halt at various checkpoints at the Nepalese border, forcing the earthquake-ravaged nation to ration fuel amid growing fears of a shortage.
On Sept. 20, the constitution of Nepal came into effect after a political quagmire that lasted nearly a decade — a move that prompted mass demonstrations that have so far led to more than 40 deaths, according to Reuters. New Delhi has also complained about the inequality the document afforded to certain minority groups in Nepal that predominantly live near the nations’ shared frontier.
Indian trucks have stopped entering Nepal ostensibly because of security concerns amid the simmering unrest, though many Nepalis accuse India of imposing a blockade in order to put pressure on its northern neighbor, and an effigy of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was reportedly set ablaze amid anti-India protests in Kathmandu on Monday. Faced with fears that fuel could run out within a matter of weeks, the Nepalese government has begun rationing gasoline and introduced a quota system for all vehicles.
According to Swarnim Wagle, a member of the Nepal National Planning Commission, the shortage of essential supplies will soon prove crippling. The landlocked Himalayan nation’s dependence on imports from India has increased after April’s 7.8-magnitude earthquake, which killed some 9,000 people and blocked alternative supply routes from China. “We understand the Indian view that because of security issue they cannot allow the trucks to pass,” says Wagle. “The [Nepal] government’s view is that once they come to the Nepal side, security forces will escort them inside.”
India’s Foreign Ministry has denied the presence of a blockade at the border checkpoints. “The reported obstructions are due to unrest, protests and demonstrations on the Nepalese side, by sections of their population,” said a statement issued on its website on Sept. 25.
Kamlesh Kumar, the assistant commissioner of customs at the Indian border town of Raxaul, says some 300 or 400 protesters have made a human chain and are sitting on the Nepal side, blocking access and creating a security issue for Indian exporters. Raxaul and its corresponding Nepalese post, Birganj, form one of the border openings that have been closed for the past five days. “Around 1,000 trucks are waiting for clearance at the customs check point,” adds Kumar.
LONDON: Inadequate shelter, school closures and a lack of safe water and sanitation are the three biggest concerns of Nepali children affected by two huge earthquakes, said a major survey published on Saturday, the three month anniversary of the first quake.
Children interviewed by aid agencies in the aftermath of the disaster also expressed worry about the lack of privacy and space, with younger children fearing attacks by wild animals, and girls feeling vulnerable to sexual harassment.
“Living under the sky increases our exposure to abuse,” an adolescent girl from Sindhupalchowk, a district hit by the earthquakes, told an aid worker.
At least 2.8 million people, around 10 percent of Nepal’s population, need urgent help according to a U.N. report published earlier this month. Almost 9,000 people were killed by the quakes on April 25 and May 12.
Nearly 2,000 children were interviewed by four charities, in what they described as one of the largest ever child consultations ever undertaken following a disaster.
“Tens of thousands of children are living in inadequate shelters, said Lucia Withers, author of the report. “It is still a race against time to provide basic needs of shelter, sanitation and protection.”
Withers is humanitarian adviser for Save the Children, which conducted the survey alongside Plan International, UNICEF and World Vision.
Separate research carried out by Oxfam in Dhading district to the west of capital Kathmandhu found that women and adolescent girls feel at risk of physical and sexual abuse in temporary shelters which are often overcrowded.
The situation is particularly bad for single women, often widows and divorcees, who tend to be isolated and receive little in the way of community support, Oxfam said on Saturday.
“After living through two massive earthquakes, this situation is only compounding their trauma,” said Cecilia Keizer, country director for Oxfam in Nepal. (Reporting By Joseph D’Urso; Editing by Ros Russell; Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women’s rights, trafficking, corruption and climate change. Visit http://www.trust.org)