Oxfam Says Australian Contribution To Nepal Recovery Efforts Not Enough

Oxfam says that the Australian pledge towards the recovery efforts of earthquake ravaged Nepal during a Kathmandu donor conference is embarrassing. More generous members of the international community are giving amounts that dwarf the Australian contribution. Initially Australia pledged $10 million for recovery efforts and following a donor conference added another $6 million taking its total contribution to $16 million. In contrast, the UK says it will contribute $142 million, Canada says it will pledge $77 million and India, says it will extend $1.3 billion is loans and grants for recovery.

“Oxfam welcomes the Australian Government’s contribution of $16 million dollars to the recovery, however Australia’s contribution is paltry when compared with other countries,” Dr Szoke said.

Funding gap remains

During the International Conference on Nepal’s Reconstruction, a total of $5.7 billion was pledged. The government of Nepal estimates that the cost of recovery will be $8.6 billion which means there is still a funding gap of $2.9 billion. Switzerland has pledged $32 million whilst China says it will offer $984 million with the U.S. pledging $168 million and Japan a further $336 million.

Australia should do more

Dr. Szoke criticised the Australian pledge, comparing it to Canada’s which has a similar size economy that has also made large aid budget cuts, though still managed to pledge four times as much as Australia. The money given by Australia will be used to provide education and counselling for children, as well a rebuilding schools and supporting communities. Money will also be spent on protecting the vulnerable from things such as gender violence all of which are critical aspects of the recovery. Given how much damage the earthquake did, Nepal needs all the help it can get.

“It is important that Australia increase and continue its support to the people of Nepal, and protect its reputation as a generous nation, who helps other countries in our region when they need it most.” Dr. Szoke added

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