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How NGO Federation of Nepal contributed in post-disaster management

CSOs in Nepal want to continue collaborative journeys to revive the damages and materialize reconstruction dream.

Nepal is reeling under crisis due to the effects caused by the 25 April earthquake of 7.9 magnitude on the Richter scale and several subsequent aftershocks.  According to the government, the death toll is 8,897 and the number of injured people has reached 22,309.

About 670,000 people were left homeless. According to the preliminary estimation, 6.7 billion dollar will be required in five years for the purpose of reconstruction according to the report of Post Disaster Need Assessment (PDNA) of the government..

The government alone does not have capacity to address all the problems, as  it has limited institutional capacity and resources. In this panic-stricken situation, NGO Federation of Nepal (NFN), being an umbrella organization of NGOs in the country, intended to focus its efforts on possible supports to the victims and affected areas. For this, it has appealed its district chapters of affected districts to mobilize the NGOs and its members to work in affected areas. NFN has also released an appeal for international organizations on 26 April 2015 for possible supports to Nepal. Similarly, NFN issued a circular to  all its district chapters intending to provide the supports from non-affected districts to the affected ones. In addition, NFN sent formal letters to the Ministry of Home Affairs and National Planning Commission and proposed them a functional partnership between government and non-government sector to respond to the adverse effects caused by the earthquake.

On 30 April, NFN organized a discussion program among the CSOs on relief and rescue works and possible ways to strengthen their engagement. Through the discussion four major problems were identified: (i) One door policy imposed by the government, (ii) security, (iii) restriction to create relief fund, and (iv) problem in customs to import the relief materials. On the following day, a team of CSOs led by NFN met with Deputy Prime Minister cum Home Minister Mr. Bamdev Gautam and asked the government to overcome these problems at the earliest. He realized the concerns raised by the CSOs and instructed related government agencies to address the problems. Later on, conducive climate was created for CSOs and individuals to execute relief and rescue works and to reach affected areas with their relief materials without any obstacles.

Most importantly, the government has decided to include NFN in the Central Disaster Relief Committee as an invitee member. As per the request of the government, NFN had started to collect information regarding the relief initiatives from the non-government sector and send it to the concerned government authorities to keep the records of relief works of NGOs.

On 18 May, NFN organized a discussion on possible ways for temporary construction/settlement plan in presence of different government agencies, experts, political leaders and CSO representatives. Similarly, on 20 May, NFN organized a meeting with NFN district chapters of affected districts to update the situation of the districts and ongoing relief efforts and to discuss ways to strengthen engagement of NFN district chapters. Meanwhile, the Government has released foreign assistance operation directive, which created confusion among the NGOs. So, NFN team met with high level officials of Ministry of Finance (MOF) and Ministry of Education (MOE) to understand the government’s motives for bringing the new directive. On 7 June, NFN organized a meeting of CSOs in Kathmandu, where a high level officer of MOF was also invited. An intensive discussion took place and misunderstandings among the CSOs were resolved.

CSOs in Nepal want to continue collaborative journeys to revive the damages and materialize reconstruction dream. To reinforce their past initiatives and strengthen future endeavours, CSOs and prominent civil society leaders of Nepal gathered in Kathmandu at National Civil Society Forum on Development Effectiveness regarding post disaster reconstruction on 24 June 2015. This program was jointly organized by NGO Federation of Nepal and Humanitarian Accountability and Monitoring Initiatives (HAMI). The program was very influential as it was organized just one day before the government hosted International Conference on Nepal’s Reconstruction (ICNR 2015). Similarly, the civil society forum released a declaration as a position of Nepalese civil society on development effectiveness in reference to the post-disaster recovery plan. The declaration was handed over to the National Planning Commission on the same day and it was massively distributed to government officials, UN and donor agencies during the government’s conference, while NFN was also invited by the government as the host.

On 1st  July , the director of the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs of the United Nations (UN-OCHA), Mr John Ging, visited NFN’s officeand held a brief meeting with NFN regarding post-disaster initiatives of the civil society in Nepal He visited NFN with a team accompanied by UN Resident Coordinator in Nepal Mr. Jamie McGoldrick.

. Despite remarkable efforts of government and non-government sectors and cooperation from international communities, people are still not getting enough reliefs and services in remote areas. Given the absence of elected people’s representatives in local authorities, the relief works are not being effective. Politicization and lack of coordination among agencies involved in relief works have been one of the problems. So, NFN is deeply concerned over the people’s plight even after the two months of the earthquake. Now, NFN wants to mobilize its entire network on post-disaster management in affected areas and it looks for establishing meaningful and functional relation with the government and international agencies at national and local level. To do so, harmonization and synchronization among the key stakeholders are prerequisites. So, effective coordination and mutual cooperation should be built on in the country and NFN should take some robust action for its materialization in the days to come.