Fri, Jun 26, 2015 - Page 6 News List

Donors promise billions in aid to rebuild Nepal

AP, KATHMANDU

Japanese State Minister for Foreign Affairs Minoru Kiuchi, center, visit a reconstruction site in a damaged area of Durbar Square in Kathmandu, Nepal, on Wednesday.

Photo: AFP

Foreign donors and agencies yesterday announced billions of dollars in aid for Nepal, but it fell short by half of what the Himalayan nation wants to rebuild from the devastating earthquake that killed more than 8,800 people and made millions homeless.

The biggest donation came from India, which pledged assistance of US$1 billion during a one-day donors’ conference in Kathmandu.

“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,” Indian Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj said.

India, which surrounds Nepal from three sides, was the first to respond to the April 25 earthquake in what was its largest disaster assistance effort abroad.

Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi (王毅) said his country would provide US$483 million.

The Asian Development Bank pledged US$600 million and Japan said it would give US$260 million. The US said it would provide US$130 million.

The World Bank had already announced US$500 million for Nepal.

Nepal has said it requires about US$6.7 billion for reconstruction.

Nepalese Minister of Finance Ram Sharan Mahat said his country’s trade deficit is likely to increase following the earthquake, while foreign reserves remain adequate with transfers from the rest of the world increasing.

“It is now certain that the target for revenue collection in the current fiscal year will face a shortfall of 8 percent,” he said. “This is the reason why we are looking to our development partners to fill a growing fiscal gap for the next three to five years.”

The magnitude 7.8 earthquake was followed by a magnitude 7.3 quake on May 12, with both killing 8,841 people.

About 875,000 private and government structures have been damaged, according to the Nepalese National Emergency Response Center.

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