The Weekend Leader - UN, EU call for international support to Nepal

UN, EU call for international support to Nepal



The UN and the European Union appealed to the international community on Friday to continue its support to the millions of Nepalis affected by the devastating earthquake on April 25.

United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Valerie Amos and the European Union's Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides arrived in Kathmandu on Thursday.

The 7.9 magnitude earthquake struck Nepal on Saturday causing large-scale damage across the country, including the densely-populated Kathmandu Valley.

Millions of people were affected and require urgent, life-saving assistance. Many of them remain in hard-to-reach, poor areas. Local communities have been working round-the-clock to aid each other.

In the immediate aftermath of the disaster, the government and humanitarian and international communities have launched a massive relief operation.

"I am heartened and encouraged by the generosity and solidarity shown to date," said Amos, "but I am also conscious of the urgent need to provide emergency shelter and basic goods and services to people affected as the monsoon season rapidly approaches. So many people have lost everything."

The United Nations and its partners have developed a joint humanitarian response plan, aimed at supporting government-led efforts in addressing the most critical shelter, water and sanitation, emergency health, food, and protection needs of millions of those affected, in the next three months.

"The challenge ahead of us is tremendous," said Stylianides. "The European Union will continue to provide whatever support we can to assist the country to get back on track towards recovery and development."

To date, some $53 million has been provided in support of the ongoing response. This includes bilateral support and funding received against the $415-million Flash Appeal as well as the US$15 million made available from the UN Central Emergency Response Fund to jump-start humanitarian activities on the ground.

Rapidly deteriorating weather conditions, as the monsoon season approaches, is likely to become an added logistical challenge to the provision of humanitarian assistance. Funding is needed immediately to continue the relief operations.

Amos and Stylianides are visiting Nepal to see for themselves the extent of the damage and needs. They are meeting with affected communities, senior Government officials and humanitarian and international organisations. - IANS