Kathmandu [Nepal], December 8 (ANI): India has pledged one billion US dollars as support for earthquake reconstruction in Nepal with one-fourth of the aid committed as grant assistance to be utilized for health, culture heritage, housing and education sectors, external affairs minister S Jaishankar said on Wednesday.
Addressing the International Conference on Nepal's Reconstruction virtually Jaishankar said that India has substantially fulfilled its commitments made for reconstruction of sectors identified by the Nepali government as the nation builds back from the devastation caused by 2015 earthquake.
"Government of India had pledged one billion US dollars as support for earthquake reconstruction; one-fourth of it was committed as grant assistance to be utilized for health, culture heritage, housing and education sectors. Over the last five years and more, India has substantially fulfilled the commitment under various priority sectors identified by the Government of Nepal," he said.
The External Affairs Minister also mentioned that reconstruction of 50,000 owner-driven houses in Gorkha and Nuwakot districts under Indian-assistance has been completed. The projects in remaining sectors of health, education and culture are also under progress.
"India is funding reconstruction of 70 schools and a library, 132 health facilities and 28 cultural heritage sector projects in various earthquake-affected districts of Nepal," he said.
He also emphasized that India's development cooperation with Nepal is multi-faceted and multi-dimensional and has stood the test of time and our mutual cooperation extends to every area of human endeavor and is informed by the inter-twined destinies and development paths that join the people of both countries.
"As close partners with unparalleled civilizational and socio-cultural connect, mutual support and solidarity in times of need has been an integral part of our bilateral ethos and action," he said, underscoring that India will always unhesitatingly step up to support the people of Nepal whenever called to do so.
In 2015, Nepal suffered two high magnitude earthquakes that caused wide-scale damage to rural and urban house, schools, public buildings, heritage sites, other physical infrastructure and livelihoods.
A post-disaster needs assessment (PDNA) was carried out in 2015, and updated in 2019, which assessed economic losses to be 9.4 billion US dollars. Out of 77, 32 districts were affected by the earthquake, nearly 9,000 people were killed, and over 22,000 injured.
Addressing the session, Nepal President Bidhya Devi Bhandari urged everyone to protect the country from disasters and thanked the International Community for the help extended at the time of crisis.
"Relieving Nepali citizens from enduring pain and trouble, the International Community at that time had extended gracious support pledging about 4.5 billion US dollars along with other technical and social facilitation. I am happy to know that pledges made by the international community have continued to be fulfilled," President Bhandari said.
The Ambassador of India to Nepal Vinay Mohan Kwatra also attended the event. (ANI)