I am very much pleased to be here in this function where 27 heavy equipment are being handed over to us by the government of Republic of Korea (The Republic of Great Han) and Doosan Infracore. These equipment are the symbol of mutual co-operation, goodwill and friendship. These equipment will significantly contribute to facilitate the reconstruction process.
On this opportunity, I would like to recall the history of our relationship and our concern. Nepal and Republic of Korea have commonalities of cultural values based on the ideals of Buddhism. The growing trade, tourism, economic and labor relations bring the two countries closer. Diplomatic relations between Nepal and Republic of Korea were established in 1969.The diplomatic relations were upgraded to Ambassadorial level in 1974. This means that we have been working together for 42 years. In today's increasingly globalised and interdependent world, it is imperative to work together to promote and display the wisdom of understanding, charity, and solidarity. To practice these virtues, the Republic of Korea has made great efforts to promote the development cooperation for the purpose of reducing poverty and achieving sustainable development.
In this regard, to strengthen the friendly and cordial relationship between Korea and Nepal, the Korean government has been assisting Nepal in its socio-economic development through various development programs implemented by the Korean International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) since 1991. KOICA is mainly responsible for bilateral grant aid and technical cooperation under the slogan "Making The Better World Together." Therefore KOICA is focusing on planning and implementation of its cooperation program in economic development and alleviation of poverty. In connection with this the technological equipment assistance at the time of reconstruction is milestone of our good relationship and friendship.
We faced a devastating earthquake of magnitude 7.8 Richter scale which struck with epicenter in Gorkha district on April 25, 2015. It has sent more than 350 aftershocks. Due to the earthquake, 8857 people lost their life and more than 600 thousand houses were collapsed in the country. At this right time, I would like to thank our national security forces and community people who had made significant contribution for their immediate and untired response. Likewise, the international USAR team stepped in very soon to put hands together with our efforts. I would like to give my sincere thanks to them. Here I would like to recall that the efforts and cooperation of Korean 119 Fire Services, who arrived immediately after the disaster. The 119 forces have significantly contributed in good rescue efforts at different parts of Kathmandu along with our security forces. Furthermore, I would like to thank Korean Government for providing non-food item support during immediate response works with its limited capacity. However, the center has to be further strengthened. I am confident that Government of Republic of Korea will extend its cooperation to this endeavor.
Now, we are in the phase of reconstruction and recovery. We need a huge amount of resources for the reconstruction of the nation at this juncture. Our national resources have been fully mobilized for these tasks. The earthquake has adversely affected the social, economical and educational sector. So national resources will not be sufficient to recover the losses of the earthquake. Our government is planning to implement the recovery task with the baseline data of Post Disaster Need Assessment (PDNA). I hope that the international support will help us in rebuilding the nation.
Nepal is an earthquake prone zone and we are aware of the disaster. We did a lot of preparedness for this. Gorkha earthquake was the mega disaster and it was beyond our capacity to cope with it. In such an adverse and agonizing situation, our security agencies did a splendid job, which is praised by all. Security agencies are under the pressure of limited resources, training and necessary equipments. The equipments provided by Government of Korea through Doosan Infrancore can contribute to the management of debris and it will enhance the capacity of recovery and reconstruction. This support will further strengthen the friendly relations between Nepal and Korea.
(Silwal is a home secretary. Excerpts of the statement delivered at the equipment handing program.)