Friday, May 15, 2009

How the government-less state on Nepal effects aid to those in poverty

Ever since Nepal's Prime Minister quit his office earlier this month, the country has been without a government, as a coalition leadership keeps failing to form. Aid workers and NGOs in the country says this has severely effected aid to people of Nepal..

The lack of government has effected aid in at least two ways. First, money that the government had previously pledged for flood victims has yet to be released to the people. Secondly, development projects that need government permits or cooperation have been stalled.

From IRIN, we learn more about how the country without a government is effecting anti-povertyy efforts on the ground.

"There is rising concern about the impact on the most vulnerable communities, especially the victims of the Koshi flood," Vincent Omuga, humanitarian affairs officer at the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), told IRIN.

For the past nine months, thousands of people displaced by the Koshi flood have been living in the camps of Sunsari and Saptari of eastern Nepal, nearly 300km south of the capital, Kathmandu.

Before the political crisis, the government had passed a compensation package of thousands of dollars to help resettle the displaced families in their homes.

"But now the relief aid for the displaced will not be delivered because the release of funds is done only through the government," said an international aid worker, who requested anonymity.

Early recovery activities are supported by the UN and other donor agencies through the government.

"All this will be delayed now because the district level decisions by local government offices and institutions depends on the decision of the central level government, which is still lagging behind," the aid worker said.

Meanwhile, local NGO workers are also worried about the impact on their development work as most of their activities depend on their partnership with local government bodies such as the Village Development Committees and District Development Committees, none of which can make any decisions to implement aid projects without permission from central government.

"It is quite unlikely that aid services will be delivered soon until this political deadlock is over," Netra Timilsina, an aid worker and senior official of NGO Federation of Nepal, told IRIN.

Nepal is one of the poorest countries in the world, with more than 30 percent of its 28 million inhabitants living below the poverty line of less than US$1 a day.

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