In The News (8)

बामदेवलाई गृहमन्त्रीबाट हटाउन ओली निवासमा छलफल
पहिलेदेखि नै गौतमको कार्यशैलीबाट असन्तुष्ट भएपनि पछिल्लो समयमा महाभूकम्मको विपत्तिका बेला उनको भूमिकाले पार्टीको मात्र नभई आफ्नै व्यक्तिगत छविलाई समेतलाई धमिल्याउने काम गरेको निष्कर्षमा अध्यक्ष ओली पुगेको स्रोतको दाबी छ । विपत्तिको यो घडीमा कार्यबाहक प्रधानमन्त्रीको समेत जिम्मेवारी सम्हालेका गौतमले जति गर्न सक्थे, त्यसमा सिन्को भाँच्नेसम्मको काम नगरेको र सरकारको दोषको भार एमालेले बोक्नु परेको भन्दै ओलीले गौतमलाई हटाउन छलफल चलाएको बताइन्छ । विपत्तिका बेला काम गर्नेभन्दा भड्किला अभिव्यक्ति दिने गौतमको कार्यशैलीबाट एमाले नेताहरु बेचैन भएको बुझिएको छ । ...... कमिसन आउने विषयमा उनको नांगो हस्तक्षेप देखिएकाले उनलाई दर्खास्त गर्ने विषयमा कुरा भएको ....... हतियार खरिदमा हुने कमिसनको खेलमा गृहमन्त्री गौता चुलुम्म डुबेको एमालेको एक नेताले बताए । हतियार खरिद गर्दा तीन वटा देशसँग गोप्य कोटेशन आव्हान गर्नुपर्छ । जसले सबैभन्दा सस्तोमा कोटेशन गर्छ, उसैसँग खरिद गर्नुपर्ने हुन्छ । तर, यो पटक गौतमले त्यो ऐन नै संशोधन गराएर एउटै देशबाट कोटेशन आव्हान गरेहुने बनाए । ...... यसो गर्नुको खास कारण उनका व्यापारिक साझेदार दीपक भट्टलाई खुसी पारेर उनीमार्फत आफूले कमिसन खानु रहेको एमाले स्रोतको दाबी छ । चीनियाँ हतियारका कारोवारी भट्ट गृहमन्त्री गौतमको खास मान्छे हुन् ।
Would like India to help us restore the glory of Nepal: Envoy
National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) came in for a special praise from Nepalese Ambassador Deep Kumar Upadhyay for their rescue operations in his country following the killer quake last month, who also sought assistance from India in rebuilding the quake-ravaged country. ...... The Home Minister said Nepal is a part of "Bharat parivar" and India stands committed to stand by it. "Nepal is a sovereign nation and we consider it part of Bharat parivar (family). We will be standing where ever the Nepalese want us to stand by it." ...... Giving brief of the NDRF operations for nine days in Nepal under 'Operation Maitri', Director General of the force O P Singh said that

out of the 16 people found alive, 11 were rescued by his men

. ..... The specially-trained force rescued 11 persons, retrieved 132 bodies and provided medical aid to 1,157 injured and sick victims.
The Best Way to Help Nepal Recover From the Quake? Go There on Vacation
Ganga Sagar Pant, CEO of the Trekking Agencies Association of Nepal (TAAN), says there is no reason for Nepal’s tourism — currently contributing around 10% of GDP and jobs — to grind to a halt. “The world must go on,” he said. “The tourism products are still there — mountains, flora and fauna, jungles, trails.”
Nepal earthquake: UN says it has only received fraction of necessary aid
a race against time to deliver relief supplies to remote areas – some of which are accessible only on foot – before the expected arrival of heavy monsoon rains next month. ..... “Someone has to open the tap....We cannot run our responses on credit cards. Those who have offered help need to make good on their pledges.”
That other jolt from Nepal’s earthquake
Many years after the great Ethiopian famine of 1984, a British television reporter—a veteran of many conflicts and disasters—conceded with remarkable candour that his reports may have inadvertently ended up reinforcing racial stereotypes about Africa. By repeatedly showing images of white charity workers coming to the aid of helpless starving Ethiopians—ignoring African workers for instance—journalist Michael Buerk and cameraman Mohamed Amin’s reports may even have caused a loss of self-esteem among blacks in Brixton and other London neighbourhoods, where they already suffered from racial discrimination at the time. ....... From being the land of wildlife born and roaming free, diverse Africa had become the continent of dying babies. ..... Last week, social media in earthquake-hit Nepal was set abuzz with criticism of the way the tragedy was being reported by Indian television channels, which were busy focusing on the relief and rescue work being carried out by Indian disaster relief forces. A Nepali cartoon showed an Indian television cameraman peeking out of the pocket of an Indian disaster relief worker. The Twitter hashtag #GoHomeIndianMedia went viral in Nepal, before being picked up by the Nepali mainstream media and travelling to India. ........ Indian television may have helped raise awareness of the Nepal earthquake. .......

But Indian television—news as well as fictional serials—is a bit like Hindi-language films: factual documentaries, largely, do not exist, and everything is black-and-white in colour. Forget nuance, balance and objectivity and, most of all, forget reasoned and informed debate.

....... Eight people, all shouting at the same time while wagging their fingers at the camera, may well be how television news in India wants to style itself and attract advertisements. If that is how debate is meant to be aired in a particular cultural context—debates in Parliament can be similarly noisy—then who is anyone to tell them otherwise. ........ The problem happens when they step outside familiar ground. Nepal, for instance. Anchor after anchor has spoken about how familiar they are with this country, yet few have really studied its politics, history, society and economics. ....... Few Indian journalists are hired for their specialization, few develop specialisms at work, say South Asian politics and culture. Why bother—aren’t they all a bit like us. Does anyone even speak Nepali? The result is loose talk of conspiracies—that foreign office favourite—apparently hatched by “anti-Indian sections in Nepal”. ....... The problem occurs when they cover international news, or even South Asian news, which has been scaled down the order of priorities for years, so that even for conflicts in countries such as Afghanistan or, to a lesser extent, Sri Lanka, much of the Indian media has taken its news from global media outlets—primarily, the big western wire services, American and British newspaper syndicates, the BBC and CNN. Anyone who has ever visited Nepal and mixed with Nepalis will know the amusement and slight irritation that Indian television news causes there. One prominent Indian television reporter told me from Kathmandu it’s not all Nepalis—it’s just “the intelligentsia and media”. ........ “Look, there’s been a race from day one, on who would be the first channel to get to the epicenter of the earthquake. And the government of India brought these reporters along, like embedded journalists, trying to copy the Yanks. .... “The Indian guys were hobnobbing with the Indian journalists. The local journalist was left out, and that’s why this whole thing happened. The local media were given access only a week later. ....... “On the one hand, it was like an Indian PR exercise. On the other hand, just about every one of the Nepali journalists has been affected by the earthquake in one way or the other. They have been camping out, living in tents. But still, the way they (Nepali media) have covered the disaster, they’ve really stood out in my opinion.” ....... Every reporter wants to save a baby, every reporter wants their army to pull someone out alive, every reporter wants to be the first on Ground Zero. A temple stood in the midst of rubble, we were told—over and over again. ....... This is the problem of parachute journalism, and there is nothing new in it. We have all done it. Western media have practised it for decades but they have also become acutely aware of the problems this can sometimes cause—chiefly bad journalism. Which is why you see more and more local journalists working for international media the world over. Sadly, news across Indian television channels is a mere platform to hyper-ventilate with hyper-nationalism.
What India can learn from Nepal
Nepal is this conflict-ridden poor country that hasn’t been able to frame a new Constitution for eight years now, has ego issues with India, plays the China card before New Delhi ..... Nepal’s image as a country that can’t manage itself is reinforced by the constant political instability in Kathmandu, because the politics is too bitter. ..... If we could, we’d be surprised that there are ways in which Nepal’s polity is more progressive than India’s. ..... Nepal has gone from war to peace, monarchy to republic, theocratic to secular state, a monolithic hill-centric nationalism to inclusive citizenship, and is slowly moving from unitary to federal state. These are processes, Jha argues, that countries and societies have taken decades to achieve. ...... Consider, in contrast, how India’s various conflicts, in Kashmir, the North East and the tribal belt, have been dragging on for decades, with New Delhi “managing” rather than seeking to resolve them. ..... Bringing the Maoists to the table was no mean achievement, one that India came around to supporting. ........ It is curious, for instance, why Nepal has almost no internet censorship, a claim no other South Asian country can make. Internet censorship, more than even press censorship, is a sign of how free a society is........ Nepal is also the only country in South Asia with no restrictions on community radio. Anybody can set up a local community radio station. News and politics are allowed. There were 263 operational community radio stations when the earthquake struck; 20 of them have been destroyed. ... Unfortunately, India is too afraid of radio, and does not give community radio licenses to anyone other than small NGOs and universities. India doesn’t even allow news on FM radio. ..... Nepal is the only country in South Asia where homosexuality is not criminalised. .. In 2008, Sunil Babu Pant became a member of the first constituent assembly (2008-2012), thus becoming the only openly gay politician in South Asia. ........ The first constituent assembly was described by the United Nations as having set a “gold standard on inclusion of minorities.” A third of its 601 members were women, Dalit representation was up from 0 to 49 in just a decade.
Alibaba's Jack Ma Joins Nepali Billionaire Binod Chaudhary's Rebuilding Efforts In Quake-Hit Nepal
Through his charitable arm, the Chaudhary Foundation, the billionaire is contributing $2.5 million in efforts to reconstruct 100 schools and 10,000 houses. The Foundation will pay the cost of 1,000 homes and raise money from other wealthy donors for the remaining 9,000 units. ...... Jack Ma’s Alibaba Foundation has agreed to fund 1,000 homes and will be sending a team of 10 executives to Nepal, reports Chaudhary. The Indorama Foundation, the charitable arm of Indian-born Indonesian plastics tycoon Sri Prakash Lohia, has pledged funds for 1,000 homes. ..... Alibaba’s Ma, whom Chaudhary met a year ago, was quick to respond to his request for help. So too his friend Lohia. ..... The houses to be constructed are expected to cost


each and are being designed by Seeds India, an Indian non-profit, which has done similar work in northern India and Habitat for Humanity, which already operates in Nepal.
Destiny Dev Bungie Raises $400,000 (So Far) for Nepal Earthquake Relief

Does this ‘Nepal’ image make you want to build these children a home? Think again
An estimated 1.7 million children have been directly affected by the disaster, and the viral photograph seemed to perfectly encapsulate their situation. Desperate, vulnerable and alone. ..... We feel sympathy and pity, and these emotions create a power dynamic. They are helpless, we can help. They are vulnerable, we can protect them. ...... The standard response to images of displaced or at-risk children after a disaster overseas, is to build and support orphanages. It seems like an easy way to ensure children have a roof over their heads, and hopefully food and education, too. It was a response to the tsunami in 2004. It was a response to the earthquake in Haiti in 2010. It was even the response to the 10-year civil war in Nepal that ended in 2006.

It was the wrong response.

...... In Haiti, an estimated 80% of children in orphanages have a living parent. Some Haitian “orphans” were even adopted by American families, only for it to be revealed that they were not real orphans. Foreign aid can end up unnecessarily denying vulnerable children the chance to live with their families and instead condemning them to a lifetime of institutionalisation. ......... In many countries across the world, including Nepal, children are deliberately separated from their parents and trafficked to orphanages. As in any situation that attracts a large amount of cash, the willingness of foreign donors and volunteers to support orphanages can be exploited for profit motives. Aid money can be unknowingly lining the pockets of corrupt businessmen and fuelling the commodification of children. ........ “We are now deeply concerned that the earthquake will accelerate [child trafficking] beyond our worst nightmares. Aid money is flooding in to the country, children’s homes are offering hundreds more places for children, and not enough is being done in the rural areas to stop the flow of children away from their families into profit-making orphanages.” Children who have been separated, displaced or orphaned are among the most vulnerable in society. If we stand by while they are trafficked into institutions – many of which keep children in woefully inadequate conditions and some of which are dangerous – we will fail them. ........ It is always disempowering to hear that things are more complicated than originally assumed. That good intentions can backfire, that obvious solutions create even worse problems. We are being warned against rushing to Nepal and giving the “wrong kind” of aid. ..... we are mustering support for nuanced and considered responses that aim towards real solutions that we would accept in our own countries.
Nepal earthquake survivors turn to rebuilding homes and lives
Six years ago, Paru Shrestha's family tore down their old home in the Nepali town of Sankhu and replaced it with a modern, five-storey house. It probably saved their lives. .... Ten days after the 7.8 magnitude quake, many people were still searching debris for the bodies of loved ones, or struggling to recuperate from injury and trauma. ...... But many survivors do not complain simply because they know other Nepalis are suffering, too. ..... The quake has affected 8 million of Nepal's 28 million people, with at least 3 million needing tents, water, food and medicines over the next three months, said the United Nations. About 519,000 houses have been damaged or destroyed. ...... "If we can't rebuild our homes, we'll be displaced. We can't let that happen," said Madan Shrestha, 35, a bookseller who is not related to Paru. But most Nepalis cannot afford even to demolish their damaged houses, never mind build new ones.
Earthquake Strains Nepal's Already Shaky, But Potentially Powerful, Electricity Sector
Now, with many villages and municipalities here about to enter their second week without power — and with little expectation that the outages can be addressed quickly, given the extent of damage to the nation’s already fragile delivery infrastructure — many communities could be facing a long, slow journey just to get back to a crude baseline of regular power shortages. ...... More than a dozen hydropower plants — the chief source of electricity generation in the country — have suffered damages as a result of 7.8 magnitude earthquake, reducing the country’s domestic power production capabilities by as much as much as 30 percent ...... At least six other power projects that were under construction by NEA and a variety of smaller independent producers, have suffered damages. ....... at least eight private generating facilities remained completely offline. ..... “The number of all damaged distribution transformers may be in the many hundreds or even thousands,” Bhat said in an email message. “Reports of such damages are yet to be collected from remote areas where communication is yet to be restored. Similarly, distribution lines — including distribution poles, insulators and conductors — are damaged in large quantities. The exact quantity is yet to be confirmed.” ........ The rapid deployment of small-scale, increasingly independent hydropower projects in dozens of remote communities had helped to reduce the portion of Nepal’s 28 million inhabitants without any access to electricity in recent years to between one-quarter and one-third. ......

one of the critical needs besides food and shelter is electricity for lighting and mobile charging

...... someone from his village comes down to the nearest town with 70-80 mobile phones every alternate day to do mass charging ..... a Nepalese solar firm, Gham Power, which is working with other businesses and stakeholders to identify areas most in need of power and dispatch solar charging and lighting kits as quickly as possible ..... With more than 2 percent of all global water resources at its disposal, Nepal has long been poised to be a self-sustaining electricity powerhouse. A prodigious monsoon season and vast water stores of the Himalayan glaciers feed thick arterial river flows up and down this mountainous nation, representing as much as 83,000 megawatts of hydropower potential — enough to overhaul a woefully underdeveloped economy and turn Nepal into a powerful regional electricity supplier. ...... Beset by political bickering, however, the nation has only managed to harness less than one percent of that potential thus far, and the recent earthquake is only likely to set things back further — though China and India will be keen to get things on track as quickly as possible. With burgeoning middle-class and electricity-hungry populations of their own, both countries have been eyeing Nepal’s hydropower sector in recent years
Here’s how broke college students are helping Nepal recover from disaster
crowdsourcing information, in real time, that people need on the ground. ..... Sevier used social media to draw in more than 60 volunteers – during final exams, no less – to learn the mapping software. “They were really excited to have a chance to help,” she said. ..... It only took about 20 minutes to an hour to learn how to do it, she said, and now she keeps seeing students working on the maps around campus, at the library, at coffee shops. ..... an international charity is using the maps to help guide its decisions in Nepal
Nepal earthquake rocks its economy
preliminary economic losses from the Nepal earthquake likely to reach and possibly exceed $5 billion. That would equal at least 25 percent of Nepal's GDP. ...... the IMF expects the Nepalese economy to "decelerate" in the short term as the nation deals with the loss of essential revenue from tourism and absorbs higher costs for imported goods. ..... preliminary reconstruction costs in Nepal could climb above $5 billion .. "Their tourism economy has obviously come to a halt. I don't know when it would be realistic for tourists to again visit Nepal." ...... less than $3.50 is spent per capita annually in Nepal on property and casualty insurance, versus the nearly $2,300 spent each year in the U.S.
Nepal asks India to provide only much-needed items
Kathmandu has asked Indian agencies not to send items like water or clothes, and focus instead on supplying tarpaulin sheets and dry rations for its citizens rendered homeless by the unprecedented disaster. ....... "I am proud of the NDRF. They have carved a niche for themselves as an able rescue force,

having rescued alive 11 of the total 16 people and recovering 133 bodies in all. This, when rescue agencies from 34 different countries had been working in Nepal

," Singh said. ...... All 780 NDRF personnel engaged in the rescue mission are back home
Israel lauds India’s efforts in rescuing nationals from Nepal
no known Israeli national is stranded as of now. "We only lost one Israeli youth who got buried in the debris. His body has already been flown back to Israel."