In The News (3)

India tapering off military aircraft sorties to Nepal
the massive 'Operation Maitri', with the deployment of 12 helicopters, NDRF teams, Army medical and engineering taskforces, will continue in full swing ...... Three flights each to Kathmandu and Pokhara from India, with food, medicines, blankets, tents, water and power equipment, were undertaken on Wednesday. "The first one of a C-130J Super Hercules, for instance, landed at the small airstrip at Pokhara with six tonnes of food and water. On Wednesday evening, a C-17 Globemaster-III and an IL-76 were awaiting clearance to fly to Nepal. ...... With relief pouring into Nepal from all over the world, the small Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu has become heavily congested over the last three days. After some Indian flights were forced to return from Kathmandu without landing, the IAF had even dispatched its director (transport) to Kathmandu and worked out a plan to send flights in "low density periods" ...... the "land route has become the primary route" now. ......

With 48 to-and-fro sorties of its C-130J, C-17, IL-76 and AN-32 aircraft, the IAF has airlifted 315 tonnes of relief material and equipment to Nepal since Saturday. "They have also inducted 951 people into Nepal for relief work, which included doctors and paramedics for three Army field hospitals, one IAF rapid aeromedical team and a naval medical team. On their way back, they have carried 3,193 people"

.....The helicopters of IAF (8 Mi-17s) and Army (4 Dhruv advanced light helicopters), meanwhile, continue with their sorties within Nepal, operating mainly from Kathmandu and Pokhara. "Apart from airlifting relief supplies, the four Dhruvs have rescued over 110 people from Pokhara, while almost 1,000 have been ferried by the Mi-17s"
Inside the Inflatable Hospital That’s Saving Lives in Nepal
Nepal quake survivors face threat from human traffickers supplying sex trade
“There is nothing like an emergency when there is chaos for opportunities to … traffic more women. There is a great chance that everything that is bad happening in Nepal could scale up” ..... “People here are now desperate and will take any chance. There are spotters in the villages who convince family members and local brokers who do the deal. We know who they are.” ..... Sita, who was rescued last year, was taken by an uncle “for a job” in India. Her parents, who are subsistence farmers and illiterate, believed assurances she would have a good job and be able to send back her wages.... In the brothel in Siliguri, Sita was forced to have unprotected sex with up to 20 or 30 men a day, seven days a week for a year. ..... most of these criminal networks were based in India, which made identification of traffickers difficult. The gangs have representatives and agents looking for suitable women across Nepal, but particularly in deprived rural areas such as Sindhupalchowk. ..... Many local agents do not know the eventual destination of the women, with some genuinely believing they will find well-paid work in Kathmandu or India. Others are well aware of the real nature of their “jobs”. One ruse is to promise marriage to wealthy foreigners. ..... Kathmandu also has hundreds of bars and massage parlours where women work in poor conditions, with many compelled to have sex with clients. These women are recruited locally, again often in zones hit hard by the quake. “Now [after the earthquake] it is going to be easy for brokers” ....... The uncle who abducted Sita was murdered by a contract killer. Her parents remain unaware of exactly what happened to her, though her brothers have found out. They have now disowned her. ..... Sita lives in a secret shelter run by Shakti Samuha. She does not know what has happened to her parents in the earthquake. For many days, communications to her remote village were cut. When she managed to get a line through to a brother, he refused to acknowledge her. “He said he had no sister and I had called a wrong number,” Sita said.
Nepal earthquake: Expert fears satellite mapping could point to more aftershocks
the stress that caused the initial earthquake may not have been fully released....... "There are a lot of concerns about what is to come in terms of aftershocks, because the ground displacement is much less than we expected. ...... the region would be safer if more seismic events were felt along the boundary of the Eurasian and Indian tectonic plates. ..... "Normally we expect a lot of aftershocks along the plate boundary, but in this case, there are none," he said....... "After Sichuan, there were, there aren't many at all, just a couple of dozen........."[When] we see some aftershocks along the boundary, we say the stress has been released and we'll feel a little more relaxed. ......... "At this stage, I can't see that yet."
Why Is Israel Criticized for Helping Nepal Earthquake Victims?
After Nepal quake, time is ripe to push for safer buildings, experts say
more than 200,500 houses have been destroyed and 186,285 damaged. The government thinks the number of wrecked homes could rise to half a million ....... A key factor is explaining to people that building earthquake-resistant houses is not expensive .... For rural buildings, usually made with stone and mud, simple ways of tying the walls together with wood or concrete elements can make them around 80 percent safer and adds only 5 percent to the building cost ..... The extra cost of strengthening old buildings - known as retrofitting - may be too much for individuals, especially in a poor country like Nepal, but is still cost-effective for public buildings ..... Risk reduction experts say the best time to push for more investment of this kind is often in the wake of a major disaster, when the danger is still fresh in people's minds. ..... "The reason we have ... exposure to hazards is that there is something wrong with ... the way we are building our cities" ...... Disasters like the Nepal quake - which damaged rickety, close-packed buildings in the capital and elsewhere - expose these problems and offer a chance to build back better ..... "Don't wait several months, start immediately to think in this tragedy, how can we use what is now happening to improve some other things?" ...... She advised assembling a team of Nepali experts as soon as possible, with outside support if needed, to plan reconstruction and better urban design, before people begin rebuilding themselves in ways that would leave them at risk in the future. ...... Architecture Sans Frontieres (ASF) International, a network of professional groups including Engineers Without Borders Nepal, is setting up a network of built environment experts to assess the damage and help plan the rebuilding process. ...... ASF International chair Peter Newton warned against rushing to construct interim "pop-up" homes, which are not durable and are expensive compared with longer-term aid....A better approach is to assess existing buildings so that safe ones can be re-occupied quickly, providing temporary shelter for those made homeless ..... The challenge is how to provide relevant solutions for poorer social groups that have lost their livelihoods in the disaster, rather than just designing quake-resistant homes for them and raising money to get them built ...... "The aim is to have a bigger impact on people that are more vulnerable, which is a much trickier problem"
Nepal, aid agencies trade blame as confusion mars earthquake relief
A row has broken out between Nepal and some international agencies over the handling of aid that poured into the country after last month's devastating earthquake, with each side blaming the other for confusion and delays in getting help to victims. ...... The 7.9-magnitude quake, which struck 10 days ago, has killed more than 7,500 people and left hundreds of thousands homeless. ...... Relief material initially piled up at the airport as Nepalese customs officials checked each crate that came in so commercial goods did not slip through. ........ Senior government officials said customs checks were necessary, because they did not know what was coming into the country....... Supplies included goods that Nepal did not need and many relief workers arrived without proper documents to enter the country, complicating efforts to move the aid effort along, officials said. ....... Some rescue workers, for their part, said they were frustrated by what they saw as bureaucratic delays and lack of coordination by the government. ...... Frustrated by delays and a lack of coordination, some donors are circumventing the government and sending aid directly through non-governmental organisations for distribution, adding to disagreements ........ Meetings about earthquake preparedness have been a regular feature in Kathmandu in recent years, and global donors have invested millions of dollars to help Nepal be better prepared for a major seismic event. ...... Chaos after a disaster of this magnitude is inevitable, experts said, and given that aid groups had estimated a major quake near Kathmandu could kill 100,000 people, they said things could have been worse. ...... the government had made an error by urgently requesting tents for Nepalis who had lost their homes....."When donors sent them, they were huge and heavy. What we really want are tarpaulins"
'Why Wasn't Nitish Kumar Allowed to Visit Nepal?' His Party Asks in Parliament
Mr Kumar wanted to visit Janakpur near Bihar's border with Nepal, which is around a half-an-hour chopper ride from Patna..... Nitish Kumar has not reacted officially, but sources say he had commented to his party colleagues that he would have been more surprised, had he been allowed to make the trip. .... "He wanted to go to Janakpur to express solidarity with people there, most of them are from Bihar. But there seems to be politics in asking Nitish Kumar not to go to Nepal," Mr Tyagi said amid speculation that the PM Modi-Nitish Kumar rivalry had played a role.
BJP slams Nitish Kumar for proposing to visit Nepal