Three months on since the Nepal earthquake, the UK will not forget those who are still suffering the effects of the devastation, International Development Minister Baroness Verma told an audience at the launch of the ZEE London Mela Festival yesterday evening.
Hosted by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the event marked the bicentenary of the close relationship between Nepal and UK, celebrating the friendship, mutual understanding and respect that has characterised the 200 year connection between the two countries.
Baroness Verma said:
I am delighted to be at the ZEE London Mela festival to celebrate the strong connection between Nepal and the UK. This year marks 200 years of our close relationship - one that was evident in recent months when the UK was quick to respond to the devastating earthquakes by sending our skilled doctors, firefighters and aid volunteers to help the people of Nepal in their hour of need.
I know that when crises happen overseas it is particularly tough for diaspora communities who have family and cultural ties with the country. Three months since the first earthquake hit, the UK continues to stand by Nepal through this difficult time by providing lifesaving shelter and safe water, by helping people rebuild hospitals and reclaim their livelihoods, and by ensuring the most vulnerable are protected.
To date the Department for International Development (DFID) has committed £70 million to the earthquake response. This includes new commitments made at the International Conference on Nepal’s Reconstruction last month which will focus on rebuilding vital infrastructure and supporting women and vulnerable groups to rebuild their lives and livelihoods.
The UK is one of Nepal’s largest development partners and is committed to helping the country reduce poverty, promote economic development and prepare for emergencies such as the recent earthquakes.
Britain’s disaster resilience work in the country, including pre-positioned shelter kits, meant that within a few hours of the earthquake, British aid was reaching hard-hit communities and providing temporary homes to thousands of people across Nepal.