Vigils mark a month since Nepal earthquake as agencies warn of donor fatigue | News | DW | 25.05.2015
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Vigils mark a month since Nepal earthquake as agencies warn of donor fatigue

Hundreds of people in Nepal have gathered to mark a month since the earthquake which killed more than 8,600 people. The UN warned of donor fatigue, with monsoon season approaching.

Crowds gathered Monday at the site where the 19th century Dharahara tower once stood in Nepal's capital Kathmandu, to mark exactly one month since the Himalayan nation was shaken by a 7.8 magnitude earthquake.

"It is hard to look up and not see the tower, it sends a chill through my heart," Ram Chandra Shrestha, who worked in the tower complex's gardens, told news agency AFP.

"Its collapse signifies the devastation our country has suffered," 23-year-old student Nina Shrestha said.

A pre-earthquake photo of the Bhimsen/Dharahara tower

The Dharahara tower, also called the Bhimsen tower, was a symbol of Kathmandu before its collapse

A candlelight vigil was also held in Kathmandu Monday, as the country struggled to recover from the April 25 earthquake and a second powerful shake on May 12 which together killed almost 8,700 people and injured 16,800 others. Fatalities and injuries were also reported in neighboring India and China. In total, almost a third of Nepal's 28 million population was affected.

Response 'disappointing'

According to the United Nations, as of Monday it had raised only 22 percent ($92.4 million, 84.2 million euros) of the $423 million it had appealed for to be able to provide up to two million survivors with basic relief like tents or tarpaulin sheets, dry food rations, safe drinking water and toilets for the next three months.

A Nepalese resident makes offerings at a temple in Kathmandu on May 25, 2015 as the country marks one month since a deadly earthquake struck the country, killing more than 8,600 people.

People in Nepal lit candles to mark a month since the April 25 earthquake

"I am disappointed in the sense that there was such an impressive response in terms of search and rescue … and maybe they think that's the job done," UN resident coordinator in Nepal Jamie McGoldrick told the Thomson Reuters Foundation news agency.

"The talk now is about reconstruction, but we are trying to remind people that in between search and rescue and recovery, there is a phase called relief and we can't forget that," he added.

The World Food Program said food, tents and medicine had to be flown by helicopter to remote mountain villages where roads don't exist or landslides cut off access.

"Working in this country is four or five times more expensive logistically than it is in other countries. So we need the resources or we will not be able to operate," the WFP's Richard Regan said.

Monsoon danger

McGoldrick said the slow response to the UN's relief appeal was partly due to donor fatigue and the fact that governments were torn between several humanitarian crises across the world, for example in Syria and Yemen. He warned time was running out to get relief supplies to remote areas of Nepal before the annual monsoon season, which begins next month.

se/msh (AFP, Reuters, AP, KNA)

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