By Niki Clark, IFRC
International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) President Tadateru Konoé’s recent mission to Nepal came at a critical time in the country’s recovery planning. Exactly two months after a 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck, affecting 5.6 million people, nearly 300 high-level representatives from dozens of countries and agencies gathered in Kathmandu as part of the International Conference on Nepal’s Reconstruction. Collectively, they pledged $4.4 billion US Dollars to aid in Nepal’s recovery.
President Konoé advocated for the continued coordination of implementing partners to make sure Nepal’s recovery is sustainable. He also stressed the importance of community-led recovery and rebuilding.
“The global community must not forget about the people of Nepal,” he said. “Recovery efforts require coordinated commitments from all partners, delivered in a way that makes best use of – and builds upon – local resources and capacities. Efforts must be people-centric, focusing on the needs of the most vulnerable. The road to recovery is long and hard, but together, we can – we must – build back better and safer.”
The Nepal Red Cross Society has played a lead role in relief efforts from the moment the ground stopped shaking. With support from partners in the International Red Cross Red Crescent Movement, the society has provided aid to hundreds of thousands of survivors, including the distribution of emergency shelter and basic household items, providing emergency health care, supporting livelihoods, distributing cash, managing the dignified handling and burial of the dead, and providing restoring family links services.
Konoé stressed the importance of a continued priority on relief, even in the midst of recovery planning. With monsoon season imminent, people in remote hilltop villages and mountainous areas remain extremely vulnerable and could become completely cut off due to floods or landslides. In anticipation, the IFRC and the Nepal Red Cross Society have been working on monsoon preparedness, prepositioning supplies, training health staff, deploying water treatment plants and distributing emergency shelter kits.
The president ended by recognizing the strength and leadership of the Nepal Red Cross Society, and the communities it serves. He asked participants to take a hard look at lessons in the devastation in order to build a stronger, more resilient Nepal. “We have an opportunity now, to address the weaknesses that were exposed and exploited by the earthquakes,” he said. “By focusing our collective efforts on building the resilience of the communities affected by this disaster, we can make a difference in the coming months and years that will benefit the people of Nepal for generations.”
President Konoé also joined the regular Movement coordination meeting held at the Nepal Red Cross Society headquarters. He was very much impressed by the solid team spirit and underlined that Movement solidarity was essential to strengthen the auxiliary role of the National Society, enabling them to provide live-saving assistance to the most vulnerable.