European Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica announced support worth €100 million for the reconstruction process in Nepal two months after a 7.8 magnitude earthquake devastated the country.
The funding was unveiled during a donor conference in Kathmandu, designed to mobilise further international support for the country. Commissioner Mimica also announced a package of up to €5 million for technical assistance, to support the government of Nepal in its reconstruction efforts.
Speaking at the International Conference on Nepal’s Reconstruction in Kathmandu, Commissioner Mimica said: “It is very important for us to provide support over the longer term for the rehabilitation of Nepal. We want to underline our ongoing commitment to helping the people and government of Nepal over this very difficult time. Our support will help those who have been hardest hit by the earthquake – the poor, women and the agricultural sector."
According to a press release issued by European Union, the European Commission is also doubling its humanitarian assistance from €6 million to €12 million, bringing early recovery funding for this disaster to humanitarian organisations. On top of immediate assistance, these funds will address unmet needs such as shelter, livelihoods, health and logistics.
“The EU affirms its solidarity with the people and government of Nepal. It is important that while the remaining humanitarian needs are met, the focus is now on long-term reconstruction. The additional assistance will contribute towards building a more resilient Nepal and help families rebuild their lives”, said Christos Stylianides, Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management.
Collectively, the EU Commission and the EU Member States active in Nepal are the biggest donor.
The devastating earthquake that struck Nepal on 25 April 2015, followed by a second massive earthquake on 12 May and its repeated aftershocks, have caused damage to property, infrastructure, cultural heritage and the natural environment of the country. Nearly 9,000 people have been killed and 22,000 injured. More than half a million houses are fully or partially damaged, rendering three million people homeless.
After destruction comes the challenging task of reconstruction. The emphasis needs to be put on resilient reconstruction, based on the concept of Build Back Better, ensuring that buildings are less vulnerable to any future shocks such as earthquakes. To reach this aim, the European Union has participated with high level experts in the Post-Disaster Needs Assessment, which defines the recovery strategy going forward.
Following the earthquake, the European Commission responded quickly to Nepal's request for international assistance. The Commission released €6 million in emergency humanitarian assistance. In addition, the Commission supported the transport of Member States' assistance to Nepal with €4.2 million under the EU Civil Protection Mechanism. On top of this, €16.6 million have been provided to the government in the form of budget support.
This support comes in addition to the assistance from Member States and the deployment of the European Commission's humanitarian aid and civil protection experts to the crisis area. Europe's Earth observation programme, the Copernicus satellite, and the pictures acquired from it before and after the quake also helped local relief efforts to target their resources accordingly during the emergency.
The visit of Commissioner Mimica follows the one of European Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid, Christos Stylianides, on 29 April, four days after the 7.8 magnitude earthquake.