International donors pledge USD 3.5 bn to rebuild quake-hit Nepal
Kathmandu: Led by India and China, global donors today pledged over USD 3.5 billion as aid to Nepal,meeting half of the USD 6.7 billion needed to rebuild the quake-devastated nation, as Nepalese Prime Minister vowed “full transparency” and “zero-tolerance” to corruption in disbursing the relief money to the victims.
At the day-long international donors' conference, India announced the largest aid of USD one billion to the quake-ravaged country for its massive reconstruction programme.
Pledging the aid, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj asserted that India will strongly stand behind the Nepalese government which is seeking to “wipe the tears” of every Nepali.
She said one fourth of the USD one billion assistance will be grant and it will be over and above India's existing bilateral developmental assistance of another USD one billion.
over the next five years which takes the total assistance to USD 2 billion.
At the conference, China pledged USD 483 million to help the country rebuilt after the quake, saying it wanted to focus on sustainable development of the nation.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi also offered a concessional loan from Silk Road Fund to Nepal's reconstruction efforts. China will offer training opportunities for 1,500 Nepalis over the next year.
Japan announced an assistance package of USD 260 million and said it will focus on three areas: school rebuilding, housing and infrastructure.
Japan will help in rebuilding 7,000-earthquake resilient schools destroyed by the earthquake in collaboration with Asian Development Bank, Japanese State Minister for Foreign Affairs Minoru Kiuchi said.
Nepal also received additional pledges of USD 600 million from the Asian Development Bank, USD 130 million from the US, USD 100 million from the EU as well as an earlier announcement of up to USD 500 million from the World Bank.
Nepal has said that it needs around USD 6.7 billion to recover from the disaster, which killed nearly 9 000 people and destroyed nearly half a million houses and left thousands in dire need of food, water and shelter. Earlier, opening the international donors conference.
Prime Minister Sushil Koirala, pledged to ensure full transparency in massive reconstruction efforts, seeking to allay international donors' fears over corruption.
“I assure you that we will leave no stone unturned in ensuring that your support reaches the intended beneficiaries, he said.
“We are committed to ensure that transparency remains at the core of the reconstruction effort,” said Koirala.
The powerful earthquake on April 25 and a stron aftershock on May 12 killed nearly 9,000 people, injured 23,000 people and damaged more than 500,000 buildings leaving hundreds of thousands of people jobless.