Nepali Times

UN ASG in Kathmandu

Monday, June 22nd, 2015
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Haoliang Xu, UN Assistant Secretary General

Photo: UNDP

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)’s Asia Pacific Regional Director Haoliang Xu arrived in Kathmandu on Monday to participate in the International Donors‘ Conference to support Nepal’s post-disaster reconstruction efforts.

“UNDP will continue to work with the Nepal government,” said Xu, who is also a UN Assistant Secretary General. “We hope our partners will also recognise the enormity of the task ahead of the Nepal government.”.

During his four-day Nepal visit, Xu will also travel to Sindhupalchok district to take stock of devastation caused by the 25 April earthquake and its 29 May aftershock. He will interact with local officials, community members and humanitarian actors to discuss and reaffirm UNDP’s commitment to assisting Nepal’s recovery with a special focus on protecting the poorest and most vulnerable people, according to a press statement released by UNDP on Monday.

The donor conference is scheduled for 25 June. Nepal has invited 62 donors – 37 governments, 22 international organisations and three ‘celebrities’: former US President Jimmy Carter, Hollywood actor Leonardo Dicaprio and British film star Joanna Lumley.


How Simrik helicopter caught fire

Monday, June 22nd, 2015
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A government official who was on board a Simrik Air helicopter that caught fire in Gorkha district on Monday has blamed the pilot for the accident.

The helicopter (9N AK) had overturned and caught fire shortly after it landed near Samdo village of Gorkha district. However, all four passengers and the pilot Surendra Poudel managed to flee to safety.

Narayan Prasad Acharya, one of the passengers who survived the accident, said the pilot Poudel could not identify the safe spot to land the helicopter. National News Agency quoted him as saying: “He (the pilot) landed the chopper on a slope, which caused the accident.”

Acharya, Chief of Gorkha Division Office of Drinking Water and Sanitation, said, “The pilot mistakenly landed the helicopter on a wrong spot, he wanted to fly it again but failed.”

However, Simrik Air has said that the pilot was not mistaken, and he landed the helicopter on a slope after being hit by a bird.

Amal Tuladhar, Bishwa Shrestha and Surav Rraj Chettri were also on board. They had flown to Gorkha from Kathmandu. They have been rescued to Kathmandu by a Manang Air helicopter.

“The helicopter was engulfed in flames for almost an hour, there was no way we could douse the fire,” said Acharya.

The helicopter was carrying government officials to Samagaun village, some three hours walk from Samdo village.

 


Move us

Monday, June 22nd, 2015
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Phurpa Tamang in Himal Khabarpatrika, 21-27 June

Santaram Tamang had toiled for ten years in Malaysia and Saudi Arabia and built a house in Chipleti of Rasuwa with his hard-earned savings. Tamang was near his village when the earthquake struck on 25 April and his eyes tear up as he recounts how his house and the entire village was buried in a huge rockslide. It was impossible to rescue his nine neighbours. His house is buried under the mountain. Today, Tamang lives in a tent in grounds of the Trisuli 3A Project in Shantibazar of Nuwakot, and he has only one request from the government: relocate our village. “Our village was always at risk from landslide, and three years ago we had lobbied with district politicians and the CDO,” Tamang said. “No one listened to us, and now this happened.”

Other villagers displaced from Mailung at a camp for earthquake survivors at the grounds of the Trisuli 3A Project in Nuwakot.

Villagers displaced from Mailung at a camp for earthquake survivors at the grounds of the Trisuli 3A Project in Nuwakot.

Govinda Bahadur Thapa is a Nepal Army guard and barely escaped with his life after huge boulders started falling on the project site. One soldier was killed in front of him, and he gave the orders to the others to cross the Bhote Kosi to the other side, where they stayed for four days while rocks fell all around. They were finally rescued when a helicopter spotted them. Thapa’s team is now involved in demolishing and rebuilding homes in Thulogaun. Many dozens of people working on the highway in  Mailung were buried by rockfalls, and their bodies have never been found.

Life in the shelter at Shantibazar is chaotic. Villager from the mountains find it unbearably hot here in the lowland. The children have no school to go to and play in the dirt. There is rice, but no vegetables to eat it with because no one can afford it.

LOST ALL: Asha Tamang, 50, of Mailung escaped miraculously but lost his wife, son, daughter-in-law and nine other relatives when a rockfall buried his house.

LOST ALL: Asha Tamang, 50, of Mailung escaped miraculously but lost his wife, son, daughter-in-law and nine other relatives when a rockfall buried his house.

 

There were 17 people in Asha Tamang’s house when the earthquake struck. They heard the landslide before the rocks started falling, it sounded like a big storm approaching. In an instant, the rocks buried the house and Asha lost his wife, son and daughter-in-law and eight other relatives. Asha barely survived, his head wound has been stitched up and has two broken ribs.

Sanumaya Tamang of Karumrang had gone to gather fodder in the forest when the quake struck. Her brother and sister-in-law were buried by a rockfall. She is now taking care of her four-year-old nephew and eight-month-old niece who have been orphaned. “They keep asking about their parents, where will I find them?” asked Sanumaya.

Subi Tamang of Gogane was also in the forest on the slope above the village, and was buried by a rockfall. Her husband Kaman has brought their eight-year-old daughter Karma Dolma, two-year-old Nur Maya and one-year-old son Anurag to a shelter in Betrawati.

The biggest fear of the displaced here is that landslides will wipe out what remains of their villages during the monsoon. They don’t know where to go, what to eat, where to live. Rasuwa villages like Langtang, Haku, Timure, Dandagaun are all uninhabited, and will be for a long time to come. The question is where will the survivors live?

Read also:

“Langtang is gone” Sahina Shrestha

Langtang lament

A long wait Tsering Dolker Gurung 


Bhattarai’s hope dashed

Sunday, June 21st, 2015
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BRBThe ruling parties have dashed Maoist leader Baburam Bhattarai‘s hope to make political capital out of post-earthquake reconstruction works.

Bhattarai, an ex-Prime Minister and Vice Chair of the UCPN (M), had been lobbying for chairmanship of the post-earthquake reconstruction authority.

The NC and the UML on Sunday pushed through an ordinance to set up a Prime Minister-led committee to undertake post-earthquake reconstruction projects, leaving Bhattarai’s dream in tatters.

UCPN (M) and Madhesi leaders walked out of an ongoing four-party meeting, but that did not deter the NC-UML from tabling ‘Ordinance on Reconstruction of the Structures Damaged by Earthquake-2015′ in a cabinet meeting Sunday evening . The cabinet endorsed and forwarded the ordinance to the office of President. The ordinance will come into effect once President Ram Baran Yadav approves it.

The UCPN (M), which recently signed a 16-point constitution deal with the NC and the UML, is miffed at rejection of Bhattarai as the Chair of the reconstruction authority. The party is unlikely to extend its support to the NC-UML when the ordinance needs to be endorsed by Parliament after six months.

Although the NC-UML cited lack of time to pass an act paving the way for Bhattarai to lead the reconstruction authority, their motive seems to be preventing the Maoist ideologue from making political capital by leading donor-funded reconstruction projects.

The UCPN (M) says a powerful reconstruction authority headed by Bhattarai or someone of his stature was necessary because the PM-headed National Advisory Committee would be just an extension of the government.

“Mark my words, this PM-led body will fail,” says Debendra Poudel, one of Bhattarai’s confidantes. “It would just be yet another organ of the government, and will not have capability to rebuild the country.”

Poudel, a UCPN (M) Standing Committee Member, argues Bhattarai was the best candidate to lead the reconstruction authority. “He is an honest and hard-working leader with a doctorate degree in urban development,” he says. “Where else would you find a more qualified candidate than him?”

Even within the ruling parties, there are some who say Bhattarai would have been the best bet. “We should have welcomed a qualified leader like Bhattarai as the reconstruction authority chief,” says Ram Kumari Jhakri, a youth leader in the CPN (UML). “We should rebuild the country for at least 100 years; and we need an experienced and far-sighted leader for this job.”

Bhattarai, regarded more as a technocrat than a politician, was relatively successful as a Finance Minister. But while in the Prime Minister’s office, he courted controversy for allegations of corruption involving his wife and UCPN (M) leader Hisila Yami.

Also read:

Reconstruction ordinance

Class of 1970

From JNU to Kathmandu

Baburam’s challenge

 

 


Reconstruction ordinance

Sunday, June 21st, 2015
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The government is preparing to issue an ordinance to form a high-level committee to undertake post-earthquake reconstruction projects.

Despite objection from some opposition parties, the ruling NC and UML on Sunday reached an agreement to carry out post-earthquake reconstruction works through an ordinance.

As per the agreement between the two ruling parties, ‘Ordinance on Reconstruction of the Structures Damaged by Earthquake -2015′ will be tabled in a cabinet meeting. President Ram Baran Yadav is expected to approve the ordinance as soon as the cabinet passes it.

The main opposition UCPN (Maoist) was pressing for a reconstruction and rehabilitation act to be passed by the legislature parliament. But the NC and the UML refused to pass the act, citing lack of time.

Home Minister Bam Dev Gautam told journalists that the government does not have adequate time to follow the process of passing an act.

National News Agency has reported that the ordinance will probably be passed by a cabinet meeting Sunday evening.

The government wants to introduce an ordinance before the 25 June conference of donors on reconstruction of Nepal, which was devastated by the 25 April earthquake and its powerful aftershocks. Donors want an outline of how financial assistance pledged for Nepal’s reconstruction will be spent.

According to Gautam, the draft of the ordinance contains provision for forming the Prime Minister-led National Advisory Committee, which will be monitored by an independent mechanism. The committee will have a Chief Executive Officer, and people can complain against it in another quasi-judicial council.

Earlier, the National Planning Commission (NPC) had submitted a proposal to the government to form a PM-headed committee to carry out post-earthquake reconstruction works. As per a Post-Disaster Need Assessment (PDNA) report prepared by the NPC, the government requires at least US$ 5.15 billion to carry out reconstruction works in the earthquake-affected districts.

The earthquake has badly affected 14 districts, where at least two million people are homeless and require support to rebuild their houses and lives.


WFP to inspect rice aid

Friday, June 19th, 2015
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indexThe United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has said it will investigate a consignment of emergency rice for earthquake survivors in Gorkha district that were found to be spoilt.

Senior WFP officials flew to Laprak in Gorkha with the Chief District Officer Uddhav Timilsina to inspect the rice, which had been taken to the remote region in tractors last week. They found that the rice was indeed spoilt, possibly due to water seepage and heat.

WFP said out of 485 sacks of rice sent to Laprak, 120 were found to be spoilt. This was rice that was part of the 600,000 tons of rice that WFP has procured from Nepal and India for its first and second phase of emergency food assistance to feed two million people in earthquake-affected areas of Central Nepal.

“It’s a big operation and everything needs to go right, and when it does not, we are accountable,” said Richard Ragan WFP’s Emergency Coordinator for Nepal. “This is the first time such a case has happened to me.”

Ragan said WFP would now inspect all rice in its warehouses and is hiring additional staff from the Ministry of Agriculture to check them. WFP said it would also try to isolate the problem to the supplier of rice, the transporter of its warehouse storage in Nepalganj, or in Gorkha, Sindupalchok and Dolakha.

Ragan added: “The results of the tests will be made public as soon as we find out what happened. None of the damaged rice was distributed and will be immediately replaced.”

Also read:

Operation Mountain Express


SLC results out

Friday, June 19th, 2015
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The Office of the Controller of Examinations (OCE) has published the result of School Leaving Certificate (SLC) examinations on Friday.

Officials of Office of the Controller of Examinations during the press meet organised to publish the SLC results. Photo: Bikram Rai

Officials of Office of the Controller of Examinations during the press meet organised to publish the SLC results. Photo: Bikram Rai

The SLC pass percentage has increased by four percentage points this year. 47.43 per cent of the examinees passed the examinations this year up from 43.92 per cent in 2014.

A total of 548,248 students had appeared for the SLC examinations held between 19-29 March.

Out of 405,338 students in the regular category 192,267 examinees passed the exams. 21247 students passed with distinction, 90176 in first division, 76,482 in second division and 4362 students passed the examinations in third division.

Likewise, 18,778  out of 136,051 examinees in the exempted category also cleared the exams.

The results for the technical subject examinees will be published within a month. For the first time, the examinees will receive their results under the new grading system.

Supplementary exams will be conducted between 5 to 12 August for students who have failed in up to two subjects.


 

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