Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Rebuilding Nepal: The rubble must go -- A Skeptic's Take

With all due respect to the talented author, her primary sources for the Al Jazeera piece (Rebuilding Nepal: The rubble must go) are organizations with vested interests--NGOs, the UN, the government—entities that have earned skepticism over decades of aid-industry ventures in Nepal. Rather than pay them more heed, the citizens of this great nation would do well to hold these groups up to greater scrutiny and demand transparency and hard evidence with quantifiable metrics, e.g., poverty reduction, worthy of 5-6 decades of aid and billions of dollars spent including dazzling salaries that put aid entrepreneurs in the top 1% of Nepal society, the very society that they endeavor to assist.

More reliable and convincing sources of information in this piece about the afflicted areas would be residents themselves from the rural areas most affected by the quake. A relatively small percentage of Nepal was badly damaged by this natural tragedy and people in these areas are receiving humanitarian aid and are also working together as communities to rebuild themselves. These worst hit areas will likely need a lot of continued assistance but this fraction of Nepal is not representative of the entire country regarding reconstruction needs by a wide margin.

It is extraordinary to read of the “urgent…task of reconstruction…small window of time… winter, which will be particularly brutal” juxtaposed with Executive Director of the National Society for Earthquake Technology’s statement, “Timeframe is not an issue…Nepal can be rebuilt in the five years outlined”.

It would be more convincing to hear from voices outside of the organizations that have monopolized aid. Despite the small pockets of Nepal in real need of humanitarian relief, the whole country seems to be portrayed as in dire need of outside help. An unsavory side-effect of that broad depiction is the complete sabotage of one of Nepal’s most vital industries—the hardworking tourism sector. Painting the picture as one of dire need  (e.g., “debris still blocking streets”) unnecessarily scares off potential visitors and is killing an integral industry that could immediately endeavor to revive Nepal’s post-quake economy.
The graphic portrayals though meant to help bring in more aid funds do real harm to many people especially, those who rely on tourism and their dependents. From hoteliers, restaurateurs, taxi drivers, goods sellers and suppliers, guides and porters, families and dependents and everyone else in between Kathmandu and tourist destinations and back again, such misrepresentations cause harm.

The following links are a bit scathing but at least might provide a counter-perspective to the implausible pleas in the Al Jazeera article for more money…Can these organisations iron out issues among themselves and get to work with the 4.4 billion USD that has already been pledged? This amount itself can scar Nepal indelibly if it goes to the wrong gang…and elements of that gang are very much aware of the wildly lucrative opportunity born from the true victims of tragedy.

#FreeNepal, #AidBully, #AidEntrepreneur, #AidRiddenNepal, #DonorDarlings, #NepalQuake, #Nepal

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