This is with reference to the news story “Foreign delegates to visit Sankhu, Basantapur” (THT, June 23, Page 1). The visiting foreign delegates taking part in the one-day donors’ conference on the post earthquake reconstruction plan will be taken around Sankhu and Basantapur Durbar Square to make them know about the extent of the damage caused by the April 25 earthquake and its aftershocks. These are the two places which were destroyed the most. It is a wise decision of the government to acquaint the delegates about the damage of old settlements and the UNESCO heritage sites. But I do not think it will make any difference about the extent of financial and technical support the donor countries will offer to Nepal as they have already acquired details of the extent of the damage from their respective diplomatic channels and the international media. They have already made up their minds about the possible support they can extend to Nepal in the times of emergency. It is most important whether the government will be able to present its needs before the international community with fact-sheet (details of damage of public infrastructure and individual property) and how it will start the reconstruction work. By the manner in which the government has hastily formed a reconstruction authority through an ordinance it is unlikely that the international community will be impressed by its plan. The reconstruction authority will be a sitting duck.

Karuna Upreti, via e-mail

MERS threat

Middle East Respiratory Syndrome corona virus (MERS CoV) has now been confirmed in Thailand after it dreadfully spread in South Korea disrupting the daily life of the people there. MERS was identified in Saudi Arabia in 2012, since then more than one thousand cases have been reported in 26 countries. The typical symptoms of MERS include fever, cough and shortness of breath. Pneumonia and diarrhea are also possible. Nepal has recently been jolted by an earthquake of 7.8 on the Richter scale and continued aftershocks killing more than 8,700 people, injuring 24,000 others and displacing more than a million people from 14 districts. If the epidemic of this virus breaks out here in Nepal it is certain that the government will not be able to cope with the disease that spreads very fast. Prevention is better than care. Therefore, the government should place a health desk at Tribhuwan International Airport and strictly check the people coming from South Korea, the Middle East and Thailand, among others. Thousands of people of Nepal are employed in the Middle East, and many more are returning home to rebuild their damaged homes. So, they can also carry the disease that can be more devastating than the April 25 earthquake. I would request the government to take this issue very seriously because MERS can be deadly in places already marred by natural disasters.

Chandan Kumar Shah, Kathmandu