Corruption in Nepal: Tragedy and opportunity

Nepalese girls who survived at the epicentre of earthquake

Nepalese girls who survived at the epicentre of earthquake

Nepal has a bad reputation for inefficiency and corruption, and its government is divided. That’s why Nepal’s vibrant civil society is likely to bring the most effective, life-saving support for many citizens.
 — Avaaz

In amongst the tragedy of the earthquake that hit Nepal last weekend, it has thrown into sharp focus the level of corruption and inefficiency  in Nepal.

Aid flights have not been able to get in, when they do get in, they are hitting bureaucracy and the aid is not being shifted.

Alongside the one and only runway in Kathmandu, a golf course.

WTF. What does this say about one of the poorest countries in the world, the sight that greets you as you fly in is a golf course?

Well meaning fools, who do more harm than good, are arranging shipment of goods to Nepal.

Anyone who has been involved in disaster relief will tell you, do not send goods, it does more harm than good.

The local economy has taken a hammering, shipping in goods hits local businesses.

Always send money.

Goods wherever possible, are bought locally.

Shipping in goods, often the wrong goods, leaving shortage of what is needed.

Logistics gets jammed.

Already Kathmandu Airport is log-jammed. Essential aid is not getting through.

Therefore please, if wish to help, send money to a recognised relief charity such as Red Cross. Do not donate goods, to make yourself feel good, but make matters worse.

Agencies like Red Cross, have warehouses stocked, all they need is money.

If you have goods, give to a local charity, if food, to a local  food bank.

Disaster gives rise to opportunity.

Nepal has a very rigid caste system. It needs to be reformed.

Those who fought for the British as mercenaries, who now live in Britain on state handouts where they bring shame upon themselves, could, if they returned to Nepal, help to rebuild the country, the money they would receive from their British Army Pension, would be spent in the local economy.

Himalayas is a new mountain range. Global warming is causing an increase in earthquakes. Modern houses were not built to withstand earthquakes. New houses using traditional building methods and materials are needed, better able to survive earthquakes.

Extract from a report by Abarai on reaching the village of Dhawa,  beautiful village in Gorkha, a village that had 600 houses:

We focused on providing them shelter as we realized that it was the most necessary thing at that point. There were not many casualties and injuries hence; medical support was not of primary need at Dhawa. We designed a thorough plan on how to execute this relief mission. First we sent our volunteers to each of these wards, collecting data on the number of houses that were completely destroyed (these were people living meager lives and we wanted to reach them immediately). We also collected data on the number of people these families had, in order to provide tents that could meet their requirements. We then made teams which comprised of local representative and our volunteers and dispatched them to each of these wards to provide the tents.

We were really concerned about how people could misunderstand that mud houses are very fragile and prone to disaster. So we studied the building and realized that falling of a house depends on its structure rather than the material. We had a 50 years old building standing intact; why was it different? It was exactly same as other fallen houses in the village but what supported it was a strong wooden beam that strongly held the materials together.

We have come so far and touched lives of thousands of people here. Now we have a vision of rebuilding these fallen villages, we do not want to see concrete buildings replacing the age old architectural beauty. We would love to have architects as volunteers who could help us study more and document on what kind of structure failed and why.

Please understand: Concrete Village is not the solution.

When Abari arrived in Dhawa, they found the school they had built was one of the few buildings that has survived.

Abari is a socially and environmentally committed research, design and construction firm that examines, encourages, and celebrates the vernacular architectural tradition of Nepal. As Nepal posses sophisticated traditional knowledge of natural materials like adobes, bamboos, stones and reed, Abari as a research and design firm tries to promulgate these materials into contemporary design practices.

Abari has put all its projects on hold whilst it focuses on disaster relief, but they also show where the future lies.

Information placed in the open commons, not locked away with intellectual property rights, is available to help others rebuilding after earthquakes in other parts of the world.

The opportunity arises to rebuild from grass roots, to create social enterprises, open co-ops, to rebuild the commons.

Avaaz is supporting a grass roots initiatives led by Abari, to rebuild communities in remote areas.

Avaaz admit, that supporting local groups like Abari entails risk, but with that risk comes the possibility of a huge reward.

When a cyclone hit Burma in 2008, Avaaz raised two million dollars that was smuggled in through a network of monks working outside of the corrupt government system. For some, this bold tactic led to the only life-saving aid they ever saw.

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3 Responses to “Corruption in Nepal: Tragedy and opportunity”

  1. keithpp Says:

  2. keithpp Says:

    Report Warns Of Human-Induced Earthquakes

  3. keithpp Says:

    Nepalese migrants return home to face earthquake devastation

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