Kathmandu, October 25
Relief for around eight million people affected by the devastating earthquakes of April and May is still being disrupted by delays in reinstating the National Reconstruction Authority, says Oxfam.
The NRA has remained in limbo after the government legislation that originally created it lapsed almost two months ago. A supplementary bill to renew its legal mandate has yet to be passed by the Legislature-Parliament.
An ongoing fuel crisis is adding to the problems, the health and safety of thousands of people is at risk as winter approaches. More than 8,600 people were killed and half a million houses destroyed by the quakes.
Fuel supply has been constrained for more than a month, causing shortages that are preventing Oxfam and other aid agencies from reaching an estimated 81,000 families who need durable shelter and relief items such as blankets before sub-zero temperatures set in.
An estimated 850,000 homes were destroyed or badly damaged in the 7.6 magnitude earthquake six months ago and subsequent aftershocks. Tens of thousands of people are still living in basic shelters built from bamboo and corrugated metal, which are not fit for freezing winter conditions.
John Augsburger, Oxfam humanitarian programme director in Nepal, said, “The Government of Nepal must put recovery efforts back on track by immediately passing the bill that will reinstate the NRA. It must also urgently resolve the ongoing fuel crisis before it is too late for us to deliver winter supplies to affected communities.”
He added, “The fuel crisis is narrowing the window we have to reach communities before the cold winter sets in. Temperatures frequently drop below zero in mountainous Nepal and this is going to take its toll on earthquake survivors — particularly the elderly, pregnant women and children.”
A version of this article appears in print on October 26, 2015 of The Himalayan Times.