International aid for Nepal estimated at $175 million

On April 25, 2015, a 7.8 magnitude earthquake, approximately 50 miles northwest of Kathmandu, the capital city of Nepal, killed more than 8,100 people, injured more than 19,000, destroyed 70,000 homes and damaged another 530,000, the latest data said. “We have a short window to reach people in need,” Jamie McGoldrick, a UN top relief official underlined on May 9, 2015.  One of Asia’s poorest countries, Nepal could be facing $5-$7 billion of rebuilding cost that is to say about 20-25 percent of its national GDP. According to a preliminary estimate by Cyceon based on official data, the international financial aid to Nepal amounted to between $175 and $210 million with the governments of Australia, Japan, Norway and Switzerland as the top donors so far. “This is more than the emergency needs of the UN’s World Fund Program (WFP) in the country, but we’re just talking about food here,” a Cyceon analyst noticed.

Also, the estimate didn’t take into account the human contribution by most involved countries having sent personnel on the ground like Canada, China, Germany and India. However, WFP’s emergency operations are only 4 percent funded, Richard Ragan, who is coordinating WFP’s relief operation, warned. WFP has appealed for $116.5 million to provide food for 1.4 million people over the next 3 months. From Switzerland, the World Health Organization (WHO) has allotted over $1.1 million for the emergency operations in Nepal. The Asian Development Bank (ADB) for its part has already released a $3 million grant to support humanitarian efforts and announced that it will provide up to $200 million of additional resources for reconstruction, and a further $300 million could be used from existing ADB projects in Nepal. Although significant and in spite of strong attention worldwide, the international community’s financial contribution to ongoing humanitarian and future reconstruction operations in Nepal presently seems insufficient to address the situation.