That Little Chinook Detail

Gordon Brown: Ruthless $570-Per-Child Traffickers Exploit Nepal Tragedy

I am really trying to understand this one. If you are trying to dig up people who might be alive but buried underneath, saying it has been a week, 10 days, and the chances anyone survived has gone down a lot makes sense, I guess. But even that line of thinking was challenged by the second big earthquake that crossed 7 on the Richter scale.

But monsoon is fast approaching, and food, shelter, and other relief supplies have not reached the remote villages. The Chinooks are perfect for that. I think they are the very best. The World Food Program asked for them.

The Foreign Minister, a CPN UML guy, came out saying, the way for a country like the UK to help is, put your cash into the Prime Minister's Relief Fund, from there it goes to the Home Ministry, run by Bamdev Gautam, a CPN UML guy, and from there it goes to the CDOs, Chief District Officers, and from there to the people. Chinooks damage that chain of command like a political earthquake. They take relief supplies from the Kathmandu airport straight to the villages, and no village is too remote for a Chinook.

Another line of thinking was, these Chinooks are so large, they actually damage houses. Well then, have them do their drops some distance from the villages. A 30 minute walk from the village is still much closer than the capital city or the district headquarters.

Then a Nepali Congress newspaper - Setopati - put out a story saying Prime Minister Sushil Koirala had talked to the British Prime Minister on the phone, and had held his own, and had brought great pride to the Nepali people in the process. Pride is good and all that, but there are better ways of bringing that about than messing up the logistics of relief.

A third line of thought made the Prime Minister look bad though. The Nepal Army Chief, unhappy that a Nepal Army honcho had been nabbed by the British Courts for civil war time crimes, made the PM refuse the Chinooks. So the Nepal Army Chief gives orders to the Nepal PM! Where's the pride in that?

Within days of this refusal, the Armed Police asked that a helicopter be bought for their needs so they can be more effective in relief work.

Send away three of the very best helicopters, then try to buy a new, small one.

This is dysfunction. This is not national pride. And if the Nepal Army Chief had anything to do with this, this is a case of the tail wagging the dog. The PM should be ordering the Army Chief, not the other way round.

The British government and citizens have been at the forefront of relief response. Why can't the Sushil Koirala government be at the forefront of receiving that help?

If you ask me, this is a hostage crisis. The corrupt elite in Kathmandu will not subject themselves to accountability and transparency. You could wait and watch people die, or you could give in and give aid and let them deal with it any way they want. When they are not outright taking a big bite out of it, they are using it as a tool of political patronage.

Nepal has a bigger presence in the British imagination than the American imagination for historic reasons.

Chinooks are big like airplanes, but they can land or hover like helicopters, because they are, well, helicopters.



RAF Chinooks recalled from Nepal quake effort without flying a mission
the three helicopters, each capable of carrying up to 55 soldiers plus equipment ..... “These highly versatile Royal Air Force helicopters and UN aircraft will mean life-saving aid supplies can be moved around Nepal and reach people in remote communities cut off by the earthquake who are in desperate need.” ...... “We are disappointed that our Chinooks will not be supporting the World Food Programme’s request for help in distributing aid ...... “The UK has been the biggest bilateral aid donor to Nepal in response to last month’s devastating earthquake, contributing over £23m, and we will continue to support the ongoing relief effort.” ..... Gurkha engineers from the British Army and a 60-strong search and rescue team have also been sent to Nepal from the UK, as well as more than 18 tonnes of shelter kits, lanterns and other essential supplies.
How can we ensure every penny of aid is accounted for in Nepal?
In the latest study by Transparency International in 2013, 90% of people surveyed in Nepal said political parties were corrupt or extremely corrupt and 85% said the same of public officials and civil servants, making these two groups the two weakest institutions in Nepal. ....... While the prime minister’s relief fund could help to better track and control aid so that it is strategically administered, it also comes with risks if there is no accountability or transparency. The fund has raised concerns with some who say that funnelling money this way risks politicising the aid distribution process. Money could end up where politicians want it, instead of where it is needed most. ....... The injection of large amounts of money into resource-poor economies where institutions have been damaged increases the opportunities for the abuse of power. ..... the aid coming into the country should be reported through the Financial Tracking System managed by the UN Office of the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. ....... The website for the prime minister’s relief fund is another key piece in the transparency process, something that both citizens of Nepal and the aid community can use as a focal point of important information, if it can provide timely and relevant updates. A potential model was developed in the Philippines after the super typhoon of 2013.
One in four Britons have donated to DEC Nepal earthquake appeal

One in four Britons donated

..... the key drivers that made people donate were the large number of people impacted by the earthquake (55% of respondents cited this) and the belief that international aid is essential for helping the disaster (54%). ........ The DEC’s appeal has raised more than £50m in its first fortnight, which is higher than the £34m raised in the first three months of its Ebola appeal. ..... “Appeals triggered by earthquakes and the associated tsunami generally raise the highest totals. These are sudden and devastating events, producing a very high level of news coverage with shocking imagery. Quakes are seen as natural disasters and donors seem more likely to empathise in these cases than when we appeal in response to conflicts.” ........ 42% of respondents said that television was the most influential media channel in encouraging them to donate. The research also found that those aged between 25 and 34 were most likely to donate, with 32% in that age group doing so. ......... Cash has been the most common method of giving (32% of respondents donated in this way), followed by online channels (30%) and text messaging (22%).
Small charities are key to Nepal's recovery
It was the most terrifying experience I have ever had ..... We work directly with the Nepalese people and this way of working means we can get things done – no red tape and no bureaucracy. ...... We have much lower administrative costs, can act immediately and know how to spend money in ways that are best for remote communities. ........ The big agencies advertise on television and have prominence wherever people donate. It’s a pity that we cannot compete, when we are an organisation with deep, local roots who know and understand where the funding is needed.

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