Nepal: Government dismisses foreign volunteers. Thousands of earthquake victims still without food
Kathmandu (AsiaNews) - Foreign search, rescue and recovery teams today started to leave Nepal, a day after the government asked them to leave the country because they are no longer needed. The Interior Ministry made the decision in agreement with the Central Disaster Relief Committee (CDRC).
In an official statement, the Nepalese authorities thanked the international community for "generous support" and said that "the government and its agencies are able to carry out search and recovery." Operations. However, thousands of people still live outdoors, without even a tent as a shelter.
Hundreds of volunteers from 34 countries arrived to help local authorities in the operations following the earthquake of April 25. Mahendra Bahadur Pandey, Minister for Foreign Affairs, explained that the government's priority now is "to speed delivery of materials first aid to people who need it most. We are doing our best. "
However, representatives of various diplomatic missions have complained to the Nepalese authorities, asking the government why foreign aircraft carrying relief materials were not allowed to land on schedule, delaying - in fact - the arrival of aid.
The Minister justified this by saying: "We would like you to understand that we are doing our best, taking into account the capacity of our airport and the need to maintain the regularity of commercial flights."
Some representatives of NGOs and charitable organizations have raised questions about the restrictions imposed on them by the government. Pandey has clarified that "there was only asked to work in coordination with local government agencies. We appreciate all genuine efforts of individuals and organizations to find aid. However, it is the duty of the government to regulate public funds and contributions collected for the disaster, so they are not misused".
Meanwhile, dozens of Catholic, Christian and other religious groups continue to distribute materials for first aid and emergency to the thousands of people still living in the open. Many of these people are suffering from hunger.
Chirendra Satyal, communications director of Caritas Nepal, explains: "We are doing our best to help the victims of the earthquake in the most honest and transparent manner. If the government asks us to stop, we will. But I see many people who are still waiting for aid and struggling to survive without food or water, even 10 days after the earthquake. "
Narendra Thapa, of Lakarpa (district of Gurkha), admits: "If it were not for the support of Christians and other charitable organizations, we would not survive. We were outdoors and without food for three days, then some associations we found and brought us food, water and tents. Still today, thousands of people have nothing. I try to imagine what would have happened, if we had had to wait for government aid. We saw the authorities only eight days after the earthquake, and they brought us some cookies. Meanwhile, many of us are still waiting to receive a tent. "
Yesterday the government announced it had bought 500 thousand tents from India and China that should "arrive soon".