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Foreign donors' Nepal aid pledges fall short of needs

India, China and other foreign donors have announced billions in aid for Nepal at a donors' conference. But Nepal says it needs twice as much to rebuild the country after the April 25 and May 12 earthquakes.

The biggest donation came from southern neighbor India, which promised $1 billion (900 million euros) in aid during a donors' conference in the Nepalese capital Kathmandu.

India, which surrounds Nepal from three sides, was the first to respond to the April 25 earthquake in what was its largest disaster assistance effort abroad.

China pledged $483 million to help Nepal, saying it wanted to focus on sustainable development of the Himalayan nation.

The Asian Development Bank pledged $600 million, and Japan promised $260 million. The EU has pledged another 100 million euros, according to media reports. The United States said it would provide $200 million. The World Bank had already announced $500 million for Nepal.

Nepal Hilfe nach dem Erdbeben

Around 500,000 houses were destroyed in the two quakes

But Kathmandu says it needs some $6.7 billion for

reconstruction

, double the total amount pledged by international donors so far.

"To overcome the huge challenges of rehabilitation and reconstruction, we need a robust global partnership for doing what we must with clear goals and plans of action," Prime Minister Sushil Koirala told donors from more than 60 countries and aid agencies.

On April 25, a magnitude-7.8 earthquake struck Nepal, followed by a

magnitude-7.3 quake on May 12;

combined, the quakes killed 8,841 people.

About 875,000 private and government structures have been damaged and more than 500,000 houses have been destroyed, pushing another 700,000 people into poverty. One in four of Nepal's 28 million inhabitants already lives on a daily income of less than $1.25.

ng/msh (AP, Reuters, dpa)

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