08 May 2015
ON APRIL 28, three days after Nepal was rocked by a 7.8-magnitude earthquake, Nepalese restaurateur Niranjan Kumar Shrestha, 45, lost his voice in Singapore.
This was after fielding about 1,000 phone calls from customers eager to donate relief supplies to his stricken countrymen. Since then, regulars at his nine-year-old eatery in Lorong 4 Toa Payoh have been inundating it with such gifts as flashlights, beverage packs and baby food.
On Wednesday, the married father of four, who is a Singapore permanent resident, was still receiving relief supplies, including 200 raincoats, 100 sleeping bags and a big box of medicine. He says: “Singaporeans have been so patient and kind, and these donations will be very valuable to the Nepalese, especially since the heavy monsoon rains are near.”
… Some able-bodied Nepalese are returning home in the wake of the quake. However, as Singapore-based Nepalese economist Pradumna Rana notes, they cannot stay for long. He says Nepal government data shows that at least 29 per cent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) of about US$20 billion is from money they send home – his own study last year for ADB found that the official figure was an underestimate, having left out informal remittances such as money sent through friends or moneylenders. He put the actual figure at closer to 40 per cent of GDP.
Dr Rana, 68, who was at ADB for 27 years, highlights the need to monitor how reconstruction and rehabilitation funds are used, given Nepal’s fragmented government and “poor track record” for governance and accountability. This means having people spot-check how many houses and schools are built and how fast progress is made, says Dr Rana, now an associate professor at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, a local think-tank.
CMS / GPO / Online
Last updated on 18/11/2015