Donors pledge $4.4 bn to rebuild quake-hit Nepal

As donor countries and agencies announced to contribute about $4.4 billion for the reconstruction and rehabilitation of the quake-ravaged Himalayan nation, Nepal’s government assured the contributors that the funds will be used wisely, and there will be zero-tolerance on corruption in utilising the relief money.

According to the National Emergency Response Center, the 7.9 magnitude earthquake, followed by several aftershocks, killed about 9,000 people and damaged over 875,000 public and private buildings. Nepal organised the International Conference on Nepal’s Reconstruction (ICNR) – 2015 in Kathmandu on June 25 to seek help for the country’s rebuilding process.

Over 300 delegates from 60 countries, development partners and donors, including United Nations, European Union, World Bank and Asian Development Bank participated in the conference. But the biggest help came from India, which offered $1 billion to its fraternal neighbor, bound by close ties of culture and history.

While addressing the conference, India’s External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said: “Nepal and India are joined in both their joys and sorrows. Therefore, we need to closely coordinate our disaster response, and help each other in the wake of such calamities.”

Besides India, China pledged $483 million, Asian Development Bank $600 million, European Union $112 million, Japan $260 million and the United States $130 million. The World Bank has already announced to provide $500 million to Nepal.

“Nepal’s closest neighbours India and China made substantial commitments, which is very encouraging and overwhelming,” said Nepal’s Finance Minister Ram Sharan Mahat.

Besides, Japan has agreed to rebuild 7,000 quake-proof schools in collaboration with Asian Development Bank. China will offer training to 1,500 Nepalese over the next year. China also offered a concessional loan to Nepal’s reconstruction work from its Silk Road Fund.

Nepal has estimated the cost of reconstruction to be $6.7 billion, which is equivalent to one-third of its gross domestic product.