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Nepalese government wants to end international charities winter supply efforts due to inefficiency.
The Nepalese government says winter relief support to earthquake affected areas from international relief agencies hasn’t met expectations and want them to finish up their aid work by Jan.10.
“To help the affected households in remote areas, as many as 34 organizations had expressed their interest in the winterization program,” said Rameshwar Dangal, chief at the Disaster Management Division under the Ministry of Home Affairs, at a meeting Jan. 3 that was focused on the delivery of emergency shelter supplies.
“However, only 24 organizations have been active and though they targeted to reach 200,000 households, winter relief packages have been provided to only 90,726 households so far,” Dangal said.
Despite it being nine months since the 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit the Himalayan nation last April, thousands of affected households in remote and mountainous areas have not received much in the way of assistance.
With the start of winter, media reports of people dying from cold due to inadequate shelter and clothing, have led to criticism of both the government and international nongovernmental organizations.
According to Dangal, the government started questioning the activities of some aid providers after many of them failed to report their work to the district-level local authorities.
Due to the perceived poor performance, the government has asked the organizations to complete their winter relief packages to affected families by the end of this week.
Church agencies to comply
According to Catholic Relief Services Nepal, distribution for all approved village development committees will be completed by Jan. 10. Though the government gave its approval late, “at specific levels they have been very collaborative,” said grants manager Raina Clark-Gaun.
Nonetheless, Clark-Gaun pointed out that approvals were not given until mid-December and that the Catholic Relief Services teams have been working around the clock while at the same time following all required protocols.
Caritas Nepal, the local Catholic Church’s social service agency, as well as Catholic Relief Services Nepal have been working in Gorkha and Dhading districts to provide winter relief aid and cash to 7,231 households.
“The major concern of the government was the slow pace of the relief efforts by some organizations to help affected families deal with the cold conditions. Still, some remote and mountainous districts have no access to the winter relief packages,” said Gopal Dahal, emergency response manager at the Lutheran World Federation.
Dahal said that his organization has already submitted its progress update of its disaster relief work through November to the government.
Nepalese earthquake victims wait to receive aid materials in Ramkot on the outskirts of Kathmandu on May 17. (Photo by Prakash Mathema/AFP)
Oxfam’s Prerana Marasini said the winter relief work provided by her UK-based organization in seven of the worst-affected districts would not be completed within the time set by the government.
A lack of fuel in the country has been a major obstacle in getting to those in need, she said.
Oxfam has been providing thermal mats, blankets, hot water bottles and cash vouchers for winter clothing, worth 17,000 rupees (US$160) to each household in Lalitpur, Bhaktapur, Kathmandu, Sindhupalchok, Dhading, Gorkha and Nuwakot districts.
Marasini said that Oxfam submitted its financial breakdown and progress reports of their respective projects to the government on Dec. 30.
Rita Dhakal, head of humanitarian response at DanChurchAid, said the government has been asking for the financial and progress details of projects on relief work including the winter relief efforts from various organizations.
“There has been discussion among international nongovernmental organization partners to submit the reports by mid-January to the government,” said Dhakal, who is also the head of an international NGO disaster management task force.
The Nepalese government said they have released 6 billion rupees (US$50 million) to help the victims with winter relief packages in 23 of the most-affected districts. The government has been providing 10,000 rupees to each household to buy warm clothes and blankets. The government has also stated that it will complete its winter relief package effort to the targeted 600,000 households this week.