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Last mile distribution of relief supplies is biggest challenge in Nepal: Indian ambassador
Sahil / Sahil Sharma
A month has passed since Nepal was devastated by a massive 7.9 magnitude earthquake. Since then the Himalayan nation has been ravaged by hundreds of aftershocks, including another big one of 7.3 magnitude on May 12, 2015.
Nearly 9000 people have lost their lives, thousands more are injured and millions are homeless. India was the first nation to respond to this calamity and provide assistance to Nepal.
India’s Ambassador to Nepal, Ranjit Rae is in Kathmandu and says people in remote, far-flung areas of the country are not able to access the abundant relief materials in the country.
“The last mile distribution of relief is to my mind the number one problem. Relief supplies have reached district headquarters, but the main problem is how to distribute the relief supplies from the headquarters to the far flung villages, because many areas are still inaccessible,” said Rae.
Oxfam is on the ground in Nepal and we are there for the long haul. Oxfam is working in seven of the worst-hit districts in Nepal. We aim to provide relief to atleast 400,000 people.
A team of Oxfam from India reached Gorkha district, which was the epicentre of the quake and one of the worst affected regions. They have set their base of operations in Gorkha and are providing food, water and shelter to families in the region.
Oxfam has also sought the services of porters and sherpas to carry backpacks of relief supplies and take them to villages that cannot be accessed through roads.
Rae too confirmed that many organisations are using the services of porters to send relief materials to remote areas. “Helicopters will be out of the question once the rains come and even for the sherpas its going to be really difficult because with landslides even the walking paths will be affected. So while we have the window right now, we should ensure the stuff reaches the villages so that they can stock up for the monsoon season,” he said.
Not a pleasant monsoon
The Indian ambassador also stressed on the urgent need of temporary shelters before the arrival of the monsoon season.
“Right now people have tarpaulins and they not good enough for the rains. The government has made arrangements to provide 15,000 rupees to every family whose home has been destroyed and they will use this to buy CGI sheets because people know how to make their own homes,” Rae added.
Another area of concern is the situation of agriculture in Nepal. A predominantly agriculture dependant nation, farmers in Nepal are hoping to sow their crops before the monsoon arrives.
Normalcy in Nepal is the next step
Now that the search and rescue operations have stopped, it is really important for the people in Nepal to start living their normal daily lives.
“The government is trying to set up some temporary schools so that children can return to their education. That would be an important first step to get some normalcy in Nepal,” Rae said.
Written by: Sahil Sharma Former Content Editor, Oxfam India
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