The Earthquake: Facing The Facts

  • In terms of loss of life and sheer destruction and damage to property this has been the biggest devastation the country has faced for as long as it has existed. The magnitude of the tragedy is enormous. 
  • Nepal was a poor country. It is now even more poor. And that will not immediately change. 
  • Nepal was a poorly governed country. The quality of governance will suffer further in the immediate future. 
  • Nepal has had a corrupt government. The corrupt elements are in no mood for a timeout. If anything, they will attempt to go on a hyper drive. 
  • The law and order situation was weak before the earthquake hit. Many criminal elements are intent on fishing in these muddy waters. 
  • By some estimates, the loss is in the $5-$10 billion range in a country whose GDP is $20 billion. There is no power out there that feels the need to compensate for that damage, dollar for dollar. The reality is Nepal just lost a decade of growth. It went backwards. 
  • The pledged donations from outside are in the $100 million range. Less than that. Expect 80% of it to be spent by those governments to hire their own people and buy relief goods in their own countries. Only 20% of it will go "native." Half of that 20% might be lost to local corruption. 
  • Elected governments at the local level might have helped, but only to an extent. And the politicians have still not moved past their chicken-egg situation on federalism. The blame game is still there. It is best to take some time off from the federalism debate, for at least until after monsoon. 


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