Earthquake: Bigger threats loom large on Nepal, are we prepared?

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Bengaluru, May 4: There is no doubt about the speed and the efficiency of the relief operation going on in Nepal after it was hit by a 7.9 Richter scale of earthquake. Killing over 7000 people in the country, it is yet to realise what lies hereafter.

While the primary concern of the rescue operators is to salvage the bodies of the dead and pull out survivors, disaster management also needs to focus on how to combat the aftermath, which may include:

Nepal Earthquake 2015

Economy: After the death stories, what remains as the worst affected is the economy of Nepal. According to a survey by the US geological survey, economic losses of the country could be accounted for $10bn. With an already slow economy, Nepal will have to bear $5bn for the cost of rebuilding.

This would be increasinlgy dfficult with an unemployment rate of 40%, and a heavy reliance on agriculture, tourism and remittances to support its $19bn economy.

Epidemic/diseases: The first thing that is affected by a natural disaster is suitable living conditions, that deprives victims of clean drinking water, food and hygiene. A rapid health assessment in the town of Calang in Indonesia stated that epidemic post disaster are more in developing countries.

epidemic

In Aceh Province, Indonesia, it was proved that 2 weeks after the December 2004 tsunami, 100% of the survivors drank from unprotected wells and that 85% of residents reported diarrhea in the previous 2 weeks. Some of the other diseases that can affect the children include Hepatitis A and E, Leptospirosis, measels, meningitis, maleria, Dengue and many more.

Unemployment: Tourism and agriculture being the primary source of income, Nepal is yet to realise how badly damaged both the sectors. Countries like China, USA and United KIngdom have pledged billions of dollars for the reconstruction of Nepal, apart from agencies like the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank.

Prostitution: Nepal being the most poverty-stricken country in the Southeast, sex industry was always booming as an easy way of earning money. With low employment rates and even lower wages, women resort to flesh trade to ward off poverty.

Prostitution

According to 2012 U.S. Department of State's Trafficking in Persons Report, Commercial sexual exploitation and trafficking, both transnationally and domestically, have been rising. Moreover, the Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2011 by the U.S. State Department reports that one-fourth to one-third of the workers are children under the age of 18.

While that was the situation before the earthquake, things will worsen as an aftermath with no resting place or food.

Child labour: Child labour is illegal in Nepal, but ironically 1.6 million children between the age group of 5-7 years work, according to the Nepal Child Labour Report.

child labour

While this was a petinent problem even before the earthquake, things may aggrevate now. While most of the children work in restaurants and as bus conductors, there are many more who earn their living in carpet, brick and garment industries, or in private homes as domestic workers.

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