Kathmandu. - The window of opportunity to provide vital relief to people in Nepal affected by the recent earthquakes is closing quickly, as urgent funding requirements remain unmet. According to UNOCHA, to date, barely US$ 59.5 million, or 14 per cent, was received against the $423 million humanitarian appeal, launched by the United Nations and partners on 29 April.
"If we don’t act quickly, the implications will be severe," said Jamie McGoldrick, Humanitarian Coordinator in Nepal. "We can only expect misery, a rippling loss of dignity and the real potential for more deaths especially in the rural and remote areas".
Hundreds of thousands of people remain homeless nearly three weeks after the first quake hit. The most urgent priority is to provide people with roofs over their heads before the monsoon season starts. Achieving this will increase the likelihood of success for other key interventions that aim to assist vulnerable communities to get back on their feet as quickly as possible.
Local communities were and continue to be the first responders. Village development committees, private sector, volunteers truly understood their responsibility. The international community were also prompt to show support to the Government-led relief efforts. International search and rescue and medical teams arrived in Nepal within hours of the first earthquake, supported by military and civil defense assets.
However, the level of funding received against the humanitarian appeal would indicate that initial outpour of solidarity is diminishing, at a time when beefing up humanitarian interventions is essential. Pipelines must be in place before the monsoon rains isolate people in remote, vulnerable communities.
"Our ability to respond to urgent needs of the Nepalese people depends at this stage solely on the amount of financial support that will be provided", added Mr. McGoldrick. "We face other challenges, in particular the topography, but we are tackling them in innovative ways".
Standard aid delivery is being complemented with competencies and traditional community methods. Responders are also partnering with trekking and mountaineering associations. Dedicated radio programming and mobile networks are being used to ensure that people know how and where to obtain relief and can provide direct feedback. Cash programming is used, where appropriate, to overcome access challenges, while stimulating the local economy and allowing people and communities to prioritise their own needs.
Graphic: © http://fts.unocha.org/