ADB pledges $200 million for reconstruction
Asian Development Bank (ADB) today pledged $200 million (nearly Rs 20 billion) for the reconstruction of Nepal ravaged by the 7.8-magnitude devastating earthquake on April 25.
Finance Minister Dr Ram Sharan Mahat informed that the ADB has – during the annual general meeting of ADB in Baku – has pledged the support for Nepal.
The finance minister is currently in Baku – the capital of Azerbaijani – to take part in the 48th general assembly of ADB that has hosted a Partnership Forum for Nepal to affirm international support for the country, following the devastating earthquake.
Likewise, Japanese deputy prime minister and finance minister Taro Aso proposed a donor conference to help Nepal at the time of crisis. Nepal welcomed Japan’s proposal to organise with ADB and other interested development partners a conference to support reconstruction.
The government has declared 14 of the 75 districts crisis-hit, which account for 20 per cent of the country’s population, and have about 1.2 million households. Nearly 300,000 houses have either been completely or partially destroyed. The unprecedented calamity has struck the country just after massive floods and landslides that swept away dozens of villages in the mid-western Nepal rendering more than 5000 families homeless who are still waiting to be rehabilitated. The loss, damage and destruction wrought by the earthquake have impacted the government and people severely. It has destroyed over 10,000 government buildings and damaged 13,000, straining state capacity to the full.
Likewise, the earthquake is likely that Nepal’s impressive progress in the social sector such as cuts in infant mortality and access to improved sources of water and sanitation might halt. Tens of thousands of people who had just crossed the poverty line run the risk of falling back into absolute poverty. Nepal’s improving Millenium Development Goals (MDGs) indicators, therefore, could suffer a setback.