Friday, 1 May 2015

So what should Nepal repair first?

Apparently there were over a thousand injured people waiting to see Doctor T when he eventually arrived at his destination. More were coming - as they could bring them in from other villages. 
That means bringing them across terrain which is difficult to cross at any time. It is even more difficult now when the rough tracks have been blocked by landslides and some of those bringing others have been injured themselves.
Even when they arrive there are problems - no medical supplies, no food and almost no water. They are still waiting for the helicopters they can see overhead to drop something to them. 
T has apparently sent some terse orders to the authorities and something should arrive today - but he knows it won't be enough. 
Yes, people have to be repaired first. Without man power Nepal can do nothing else.
After that there are arguments raging. Does Nepal repair the temples and monasteries and other places of historic interest - or do they use aid money to build roads and schools and hospitals?
It is not a simple question. 
Nepal's economy is almost one hundred per cent reliant on tourism. Some of the buildings which have been demolished were hundreds of years old - some perhaps as much as a thousand years old. Others which have been badly damaged are also very old. Those buildings were not merely tourist attractions, they were an integral part of the daily life of the Nepalese. Their culture and religion, one of the things that attracts tourists to Nepal,  is also the thing which binds their society together.
It is easy to say "Nepal needs hospitals, schools, roads and housing." Yes, of course they do. All societies need those things but they also need more than that.
If Nepal does not repair the things that make it unique then it will simply cease to be a destination people care about. There will be no money build anything new in the future. Repairs will provide employment for years to come. Building new structures will also provide money. Money must come from elsewhere - without strings attached, especially strings from communist China which views Nepal with great strategic interest.
If the Nepalese choose to repair their temples and monasteries first then we should not condemn them. For them it will be part of the long and difficult healing journey. 


Judy Edmonds said...

So hard. My immediate reaction is utilities - would tourists even visit if there was no transport or sewage or medical care? But then, if their only income comes from tourists, what do the Nepalese want? Or are they all too traumatised to even think these things through? All rhetorical questions, I don't think there are answers. I just hope they get help and manage to rebuild, in every possible sense. My daughter knows a young lady who had planned and paid for a holiday to the Everest base camp, leaving this week, who is still going to use what she has paid for, but to help - she is a nurse and has organised to volunteer for the two weeks she would have been there climbing. It is good to know that the much-maligned 'Gen Y' has such people in it.

catdownunder said...

If she knows what she is going into (up to a point) and has volunteered through the proper channels then she will be very welcome - and I admire her for doing it!

Judy Edmonds said...

She has Trauma/Emergency experience and has volunteered through appropriate channels, so I think she will do good :)