With the relief work gradually picking up pace in the quake-hit Nepal , it is also now facing major hassles as organised groups are obstructing the work or ‘hijacking’ aid material midway.
In Tatopani town of Sindupalchowk district, about 60 km north east of Kathmandu, some locals, including representatives of four political parties, stopped tents and foodgrain from a truck that was headed to a remote village in the presence of some local government officials.
“I had sent it for people I know who are in distress, but there was no way it could get to them,” said a former minister citing anonymity.
Similarly, Swarnima K C, a college student and an aid worker, who visited her home district of Nuwakot from Kathmandu Sunday, faced a couple of youths armed with sickles and lathis. They were angry about relief materials not reaching to them. “They let us go only once they were convinced that we will take the relief materials to their camps, and not elsewhere,” she said.
In another case, a team of doctors from Nepal’s world class eye hospital, led by its CEO Rita Gurung, was told by local police to reach the district headquarter first instead of the affected village in Dhading district where they were heading to.
Field visits by Nepal’s National Human Rights Commission members have revealed of a bias in distribution of relief material. In a statement, the commission said that “complaints galore have been registered with the NHRC about politicisation of relief distribution. So, we request all stakeholders to stop this and ferry relief materials to victims directly.”
Laxmi Prasad Dhakal, joint secretary and spokesperson with the Nepal Home Ministry, indicated that it might be the case with relief through private channels only.
By: YUBARAJ GHIMIRE & HAMZA KHAN