International Alert along with everyone else was shocked by the human and physical devastation caused by the earthquake that hit Nepal and neighbouring countries on 25 April.
The UN estimates that eight million people in Nepal have been affected by the earthquake, or a quarter of the population. More than 5,000 people have been reported dead, with the figure continuing to rise. Nepal and surrounding areas have continued to experience aftershocks. Water, food and electricity are in short supply and there are fears of outbreaks of disease.
We express our deepest condolences and support to all those affected by the earthquake.
We also believe now is a crucial moment to ensure that post-disaster aid delivery and reconstruction efforts are carried out in an inclusive, sustainable and conflict-sensitive way.
Nepal is still suffering the effects of its 10-year civil war, which ended in 2006. Relationships between some communities are strained. Governance is in transition, with a new constitution yet to be agreed. And the causes of the civil war, relating to discrimination of people based on their ethnicity, gender, religion and caste, have not yet been addressed.
Communities are pulling together to help one another through the crisis. But the distribution of relief will be highly sensitive and may cause or exacerbate grievances if not seen as fair.
There are ways to help aid enhance peace through early recovery initiatives that bridge traditional divides and foster social cohesion. Relief needs to be inclusive and delivered in ways that minimise politicisation and corruption. This will help to ensure Nepal’s sustainable recovery on all fronts.
International Alert has been working in Nepal since 2001, supporting peacebuilding efforts in the country during and after the war.
We help people tackle the root causes of insecurity and build the conditions for sustainable peace. We bring together citizens, youth groups, businesses, the police and government to improve public security and access to justice, especially for the poor and marginalised. We also work to improve accountability in the provision of vital state services, recognising that good governance underpins peace.
Alert will continue its work in Nepal and support efforts to rebuild the country fairly and accountably.
Photo © International Alert/Niranjan Shrestha