Kathmandu (AsiaNews) - Five days after the earthquake that devastated Nepal, thousands of people have not yet received relief and are living outdoors, in the rain. Victims and rescue workers accuse the government of corruption and insufficient efforts distributing aid. The latest toll speaks of more than 5,500 dead; about 12 thousand wounded; 70 thousand houses destroyed and 530 thousand others damaged, in 39 of the 75 districts of Nepal.
Shanti Gurung, originally from the district of Sindhuli, is currently living in the open air in Chuchchepati (Kathmandu). He tells AsiaNews: "I have three young children, including a baby of four months. I found sheltered under this small tree. I have asked for help from everyone, every journalist, I meet and, but so far no one has helped me. There has been non-stop rain for over 12 hours. If I had at least a tent I could protect my children".
"No government representative - says the woman - has ever come to visit us. We have been living like this for five days now. I heard that foreign governments and people are sending basic necessities and money, but all donations are made to the party cadres and their leaders. We ordinary people are not getting anything. "
Sankhu (Kathmandu) resident Rabindra Manandhar, tells AsiaNews: "Forget the food and money; we do not even have drinking water or a tent to protect us from the rain. No government agency has come forward. It seems that there is no authority [in this country]. " First aid parcels, he emphasizes, "never came. Our leaders are exploiting foreign aid. "
Rameshwor Yadav, 45, lost his wife and children in the quake. "I have taken refuge in Tundikhel - he says - the army barracks at the center of Kathmandu. I received a tent and blankets from Caritas and the US Agency for International Development (USAID). Many live in the open or under trees, but I have shelter because the Christians have helped us, without discrimination. If it were only up to the government, I would not have received anything because they would give priority to their colleagues. My whole life is paralyzed, I lost all my loved ones. "
Father Pius Perumana, director of Caritas Nepal, explains: "We are doing our best to reach as many people as possible. Our first choice is to help those most in need, without rest".
According to some reports in the local media, many national donors are reluctant to put basic necessities into government hands.
Khagendra Sangraula, a civil society leader, expresses his frustration: "The foreign nations and their inhabitants are sending a lot of aid, but our rulers are taking advantage of this. The organizations working to provide help should use their channels, rather than go through government agencies. What is happening is an injustice and a form of corruption, in the midst of a national crisis. "
When questioned about the issue of aid distribution, the Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister Bamdev Gautam defended himself by saying: "We have limited resources and it is obvious that that it reaches those who have easier access to it first. We are gradually reaching the entire population, gradually we receive aid from the international community. We are doing our best according to our abilities. "
Meanwhile, yesterday the United Nations launched an appeal - the Flash Appeal - to raise $ 415 million, to respond to cover the most urgent needs in the first three months: shelter, water, sanitation, food. "Timeliness - said Jamie McGoldrick, UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Nepal - are essential in crisis management." Also yesterday, US President Barack Obama and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon telephoned Prime Minister Sushil Koirala of Nepal to express their condolences.