Document


The situation in Nepal after the earthquakes

Greens/EFA motion for resolution


Tabled by Jean Lambert, Barbara Lochbihler, Ernest Urtasun on behalf of the Greens/EFA group

The European Parliament,

-        having regard to the statement by the UN humanitarian coordinator on 4 June stating that international funding in support of Nepal remains unsatisfactory and that the UN has only received dollar 120 of the dollar 422 million which were pledged 

–        having regard to the Joint Statement by the High Representative and Vice-President Federica Mogherini, the EU Commissioner for Development Neven Mimica and the Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response Christos Stylianides on the earthquake in Asia of 25 April 2015

-        having regard to the visit of Commissioner Stylianides and UN Under-Secretary General Valerie Amos to Nepal in the week following the April earthquake

-        having regard to Nepali post-earthquake initiatives such as the National Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Plan and the Post Disaster Needs Assessment

-        having regard to the Nepal Untouchablility Act of May 2011, criminalising the practice of caste-based discrimination in both public and private places

-        having regard to Rules 135 of its Rules of Procedure,

A. Whereas on 25 April 2015 the Gorkha earthquake with a magnitude of 7.8 killed more than 8,800 people and injured more than 23,000 and whereas a second powerful aftershock on 12 May 2015 killed again more than 100 people and injured 2500;

B. Whereas 1.4 million people require food assistance and another 240 000 need agricultural inputs including rice and vegetable seeds;

C. Whereas this catastrophe was the worst natural disaster to strike Nepal since the 1934 Nepal–Bihar earthquake with hundreds of thousands of people being made homeless, 500 000 houses destroyed and an additional 270 000 damaged, most of the monuments that had been designated as World Heritage Sites in Kathmandu, Bhaktapur and Lalitpur District destroyed, experts doubting that they could be restored to their original states

D. Whereas Nepal, which is among the poorest countries in the world, has only recently and slowly emerged from a 10 year civil war and the new state building process remains incomplete, whereas the government nevertheless has made efforts in recent years, supported by the EU and other donors, to prepare for the expected event of a major earthquake

E. Whereas the government efforts to retrofit public buildings and to impose a more restrictive building code with house owners have remained far below what would have been needed and whereas even before the earthquake, the Asian Development Bank estimated that Nepal would need to spend about four times more than it currently does annually on infrastructure through to 2020 to attract investment;

F. Whereas relief efforts were reportedly initially hampered by government insistence on routing all aid through the Prime Minister's Disaster Relief Fund and its National Emergency Operation Center, whereas aid mismatch and supply of "leftovers" by donors, aid diversion in Nepal, mistrust over control of the distribution of funds and supplies, congestion and customs delays at Kathmandu's airport and border check posts gave reportedly also reason for concern;

G. Whereas the recently inaugurated disaster relief centre and the humanitarian staging area which provided food rations for 200 000 people for two weeks, supported also with EU funding reportedly operated successfully and are good examples of the direction in which the government was moving before the quake;  

H. Whereas humanitarian efforts are expected to face even more difficulty with the onset of the monsoon season this month, and new risks such as landslides, glacial lake outburst floods (GLOFs), and water-borne diseases adding to the already challenging relief effort;

I. Whereas estimates from Nepal's Finance Ministry put the cost of reconstruction at around US$10 billion which is half the country's GDP;

J. Whereas the Nepalese Government has announced 15,000 rupees of relief aid for every affected household to construct temporary shelters;

K. Whereas the EU and the Member States together are the biggest donors of development aid to Nepal and whereas the EU has released 6 million euros of immediate humanitarian aid after the Gorkha quake and fast-tracked 16.6 million of the longer-term aid budget; 

L. Whereas according to UNICEF, 1 million children have been affected by the earthquake, many of whom have also had their education disrupted due to destroyed classrooms or schools being used as temporary shelters;

1. Expresses its heartfelt solidarity with the Nepalese people and sincere condolences to all those who have lost their lives, their beloved ones, their material subsistence and centuries of inestimable cultural wealth which is lost for the whole world;

2. Calls on the Nepalese government and all aid organisations supporting the relief and reconstruction operations to work together with the local communities and to focus their efforts on those parts of the country and the population who are most in need, notably removed and rural areas as well as the poorest and most vulnerable people including orphaned children, disabled people, and the Dalit and indigenous communities; resonates the EU Ambassador's call for a master plan to steer the relief and reconstruction efforts in the most disadvantaged parts of Nepal;

3. Welcomes the enormous efforts the Nepalese army and police forces have made in the immediate aftermath of the earthquake to help the people in need;

4. Expresses its concern about reports that aid distribution has been hampered by ‘political favouritism’ and caste discrimination and that 6 weeks after the disaster more than half of the Dalit community are still waiting for shelter and food rations;

5. Expresses grave concern about reports of sexual abuse and harassment of women and children in makeshift camps and calls on the Government to take extra measures to ensure the safety of vulnerable people, and ensure the quick and thorough investigation of reports of this nature;

6. Notes that women and children are at particular risk of trafficking, which is already a longstanding problem in Nepal, recognizes the work that has been done in the past and urges the authorities and relief organisations to stay vigilant and intensify the work against human trafficking;

7. Calls on the Government, parliament and particularly the political parties to leave their traditional differences behind under these extraordinarily challenging circumstances and to bring the constitution making procedure to a positive conclusion;

8. Welcomes that according to reports, leaders of the 4 main parties on 3 June have made further progress with an understanding to divide the state into six provinces, and to adopt a mixed electoral system, electing 60 percent representatives under the first-past-the post system and 40 percent under proportional representation;   

9. Underlines also that with and without constitution it is of primary importance to organise the long overdue local elections, considering that successful reconstruction efforts will be intimately linked to the administrative capacities of the local authorities;

10. Calls on the EEAS, the Commission and the member states to honour their commitments and additionally calls on the EU to increase the 360 million aid budget which has been agreed for Nepal for the next 7 years in view of the extra-ordinary needs of the country; Calls on the European Investment Bank to increase the amount of loans under favourable conditions which it is allocating to Nepal; calls on all donors to consider debt cancellation schemes for those loans that have been allocated in the past; 

11. Expresses its particular concern for those who have lost their entire livelihoods and urges the government and the internal community to put into place rapid compensation schemes and debt cancelation particularly for the most poverty-stricken and discriminated parts of the population;

12. Is concerned about reports that the 15,000 rupees per household pledged by the Nepalese Government for constructing temporary shelter in advance of the monsoon season have often not reached those who are the most in need, and do not adequately address the challenge of delivering heavy materials to hard-to-reach areas;

13. Notes reports that the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has asked the government to take action against the World Food Programme (WFP) for distributing substandard rice to earthquake survivors and urges the WFP to take account of these concerns for the future;         

14. Notes the economic impact the earthquake will also have on sherpa communities who depend primarily on tourism for their livelihoods, and in this regard encourages the EU to take this into account in its ongoing cooperation with Nepal;

15. Welcomes the work of the government and aid agencies who have prioritised the construction of temporary learning centres for children in the wake of tens of thousands of destroyed classrooms, in an effort to resume children's education, and also to help protect them from violence and trafficking;

16. Is encouraged about reports of foreign employers and host governments of Nepali migrant workers showing support and solidarity in allowing these workers short-term leave to return to Nepal to conduct burial rituals and take care of family, but regrets that some countries were slow to support such requests;

17. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the VP/HR of the Common Foreign Policy, Council, Commission, and the Government and the Constituent Assembly of Nepal.