Govt direction on relief distribution confuses many

Published On: August 15, 2017 04:30 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, August 14: Twenty flood-hit districts are facing crisis similar to the one created by the earthquakes of 2015. Some people are voluntarily collect relief materials in major cities and private sector also wants to provide relief materials promptly. But the absence of needs assessment and the direction to channel support through the government channel has created confusion among the good Samaritans.

The government mechanism is busy rescuing people. But no government agency knows how to reach to those people with relief materials. The Ministry of Home Affairs on Monday asked all those interested to support flood victims to channel their assistance through the government channel. Similarly, Minister for Commerce Meen Bahadur Biswakarma has asked the private sector not to distribute support on their own and provide relief materials to the government or Central Natural Disaster Relief Committee led by the Minister for Home Affairs.

Confederation of Nepalese Industries (CNI) President Hari Bhaka Sharma told Republica that the home ministry has given them a list of essential medicines, dry foods like noodles and beaten rice, and drinking water and water purifier, among others. “But the ministry is silent on the required quantity,” Sharma said, adding: “But there is no assessment of the needs. Also, we do not know who will receive the support that we hand over to the government.” 

The CNI has announced to provide goods worth Rs 5 million to the flood victims. It plans to hand over the goods to the government very soon, according to Sharma.
Similarly, Shekhar Golchha, senior vice president of Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI), also said that the federation was collecting relief materials from its members. “But we have no idea on the quantity of relief materials is needed because needs assessment has not been done,” Golchha added.

The FNCCI on Sunday announced to provide relief materials worth Rs 100 million to flood victims. The federation has already announced to provide Rs 1 million and has appealed to all the business community and its members to provide their support. “Our chambers in Morang and Janakpur have already started distributing foods to affected communities in their areas,” Golchha added.

Ranjit Acharya, an executive committee member of the FNCCI, said that the government seems to be focused on rescue only. “Rescue and relief distribution should go hand in hand. Flood victims have lost everything. They have no means to survive,” Acharya, a member of the team managing relief support for quake victims in 2015, told Republica.   
Acharya further added that the direction to provide relief via government's channel has left many confused as general public is collecting relief materials in different parts of the country spontaneously. 

Two ambulances mobilized

Nepal Ambulance Service has decided to mobilize two ambulances with paramedics in flood-hit districts. 

Ranjit Acharya, vice president of Nepal Ambulance Service, said that the ambulances will have essential emergency medicines and three emergency medicine technicians in each ambulance to treat flood-hit people on the spot. 

“We are now collecting medicines from the FNCCI members. They ambulances will be ready to move to affected areas by Tuesday evening,” Acharya said, adding: “But we are waiting for the government direction on where to mobilize them.”

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