PM reiterates consensus, cooperation to rescue country from disaster

Kathmandu, May 26: Prime Minister Sushil Koirala has pointed out the need of consensus and collaboration to extricate the country from the massive disaster.

"The country could be rescued from the calamity through the cooperation and concerted efforts of the government, the political parties and the people, and empathy and unity is needed for this," the Prime Minister said.

Addressing the first meeting of the National Reconstruction Consultative Committee at his official residence in Baluwatar today, PM Koirala stated that works of rehabilitation and reconstruction were conducted with high priority along with the search, rescue and relief for the quake-affected.

CPN (UML) chairman KP Sharma Oli, UCPN (Maoist) chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal, among the top leaders of different political parties, the government ministers, the Chief Secretary, the secretaries of all the ministries, the Vice-chairman and office-bearers of the National Planning Commisison (NPC), the NPC former Vice-chairpersons and members, the Governor of Nepal Rastra Bank, planners and representatives of the partner and donor agencies of Nepal's socio-economic development attended the meeting.

The government recently constituted the committee under the chairmanship of the Prime Minister as per the dirtective of the Legislature-Parliament issued through the Resolution Proposal.

The committee will give suggestions and advice to the government regarding the reconstruction and rehabilitation plan after making an assessment of the the damage caused by the April 25 earthquake and the aftershocks that followed as well as of the search, rescue and relief operations.

In his opening remarks to the meeting, Prime Minister Koirala said that the government had focused all its attention on the search, rescue and relief works immediately after the earthquake, mobilised all the state organs to reach relief to the affected people and also simultaneously started the rehabilitation and reconstruction works.

"The amount deposited in the Prime Minister Disaster Relief Fund  would get to the earthquake survivors and not a single penny would be allowed to be misused," PM Koirala said.

In today's meeting, Home Secretary Surya Silwal reported on the works being carried out at present regarding disaster management, the NPC Vice-chairman Dr Govinda Poharel regarding the post disaster risk and needs assessment works and the Chief Secretary Lilamani Poudyal on the challenges and opportunities of disaster management.

Leader of the main opposition party in the Legislature-Parliament, Dahal and other participants will also put their views in the meeting today.

What is in Home Secretary's paper?

The working paper the Home Secretary Silwal presented to the meeting states that the earthquake victims in the remote areas have top depend on the relief provided by the government agencies as the other sectors were not distributing it there and that there was duplication of relief in the accessible areas. It points out that making arrangerments for temporary settlement immediately, the lack of the required policy, technology and tools for demolishing uninhabitable and at-risk houses and removing the debris from the fallen structures is challenging.

It also mentions that resumption of the public services was challenging as more than 10,000 government buildings have been razed. Similarly, the proper management of the children orphaned by the quake, the inmates, preparedness for minimising the risk of floods and landslide during the rainy season, resuming the roads damaged due to floods and landslide by repairing them and collection of integrated data and processing it were the other challenges.

The paper states that of the Rs 8 billion that has collected in the Central Natural Disaster Relief Fund, Rs 5.53 billion has been released.

Likewise, NPC vice-chairman Pokharel's working paper states that the Commission has formulated and implemented work execution plans in four phases after the April 25 devastating earthquake. 

Accordingly, the first phase works include search, rescue and relief, the second phase works include preliminary rehabilitation, the third phase works include disaster assessment and evaluation and the fourth phase works include rehabilitation and reconstruction.

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