The country has been hit by a devastating earthquake that has killed more than a thousand people, injured over five thousand and damaged property worth billions of rupees. Detailed reports of the casualties and damage to property are yet to flood in, and the death toll is likely to go up. The earthquake measuring 7.9 on the Richter scale is the most devastating in the recent history of Nepal. Although 27 districts have been affected by the earthquake, the Kathmandu Valley suffered the most as more than 500 have died in the valley alone. The government has declared the 27 quake-affected districts as emergency zones and has accordingly mobilised different security and other agencies in the rescue operation. The Council of Ministers held an emergency meeting and took decisions to do everything possible for the swift relief and rescue operations. Although the government has put all efforts into the rescue operations, it has sought the cooperation and active support from all the people, political parties and international donor agencies in this humanitarian task. As the country is in the midst of a national tragedy, it is the duty of all the people to extend meaningful support and get actively engaged in this humanitarian operation. Similarly, international agencies and donors are also expected to come and provide support to the Nepal government at this hour of need.
An earthquake is beyond human control, and it is a natural phenomenon. In this situation, people are expected not to panic and take extra caution to ensure that they remain safe. As tremors of the earthquake continue to jolt the valley and other parts of the country, people need to take shelter in open spaces for sometime so that more human causalities could be avoided. It is natural that people get panicked in such situations, but we need to understand that action taken under such a situation only leads to more human causalities, injuries and damage to property.
Against this background, Prime Minister Sushil Koirala has cut short his foreign trip and has returned to the country to lead, monitor and mobilise the relief and rescue operation. The government has expressed its commitment to leave no stone unturned in the rescue operation for which more collaboration with social organisations, civil society, international donors and people at large is highly necessary. Thus, all people are required to understand the good intention and commitment of the prime minister and his government and work collectively in the task of providing relief to fellow citizens in need so that they get timely support. This is a national tragedy, which must be understood accordingly by all.
Surya Nath Upadhyaya is a member of the Eminent Persons’ Group (EPG) from Nepal’s side. The EPG has a two-year term, and it has already spent...