The international community’s response to devastating earthquakes in Nepal has been disappointing, a United Nations official said on Monday, adding that donors were focusing more on reconstruction than much needed aid such as food and shelter.
The impoverished Himalayan nation is reeling from a 7.8 magnitude earthquake which struck on April 25, disrupting the lives of almost a third of the 28 million population.
A second quake of 7.3 magnitude struck on May 12, worsening the situation and further hampering efforts to get aid to survivors in remote regions. Over 8,600 people have died.
“I am disappointed in the sense that there was such an impressive response in terms of search and rescue – all the teams that came in to do the work, they did very impressively and comprehensively – and maybe they think that’s the job done,” said Jamie Mc- Goldrick, U.N. resident coordinator in Nepal.
“The talk now is about reconstruction, but we are trying to remind people that in between search and rescue and recovery, there is a phase called relief and we can’t forget that,” he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation by phone from Kathmandu.
In the weeks following the earthquake, scores of international agencies and foreign governments rushed to send search and rescue teams, doctors and relief materials to the country which is sandwiched between India and China.
The U.N. appealed for $423 million to be able to provide up to two million survivors with basic relief such as tents or tarpaulin sheets, dry food rations, safe drinking water and toilets for the next three months.
As of Monday, the U.N. Financial Tracking System showed $92.4 million has been raised, 22 percent of the required funds.
McGoldrick said the slow response was partly due to donor fatigue where