Nepal: Grassroots Initiatives to Meet Earthquake Crisis, and Bypass Corrupt International Agencies

VOW_InitiativeFor immediate assistance and relief, VOW Media has set up a fund that we are managing independently. All financial records will be published online and it will be completely transparent. With the funds we collect, we will buy essential items, support older and form new citizen volunteer groups to assist and provide relief to survivors of the Nepal Earthquake. These groups will organise themselves and go out to neighbourhoods and various districts to distribute immediate relief.

In addition to distribution of relief materials we will also be assisting in the rebuilding of people’s homes once we have enough funds to do it. If there is anything in particular you would want your precious resources to be spent on, you can also let us know and we will make sure the money gets spent in the community you want.

Remember people, we will not take ONE single dime of the money you have donated to the relief and reconstruction fund. It will all be accounted for and spent wisely to support people in need.

You can transfer the money into our Dutch Bank Account to avoid all the bureaucracy in Nepal or send it via paypal:

Please direct payment to:

VOICES OF WOMEN MEDIA
ING # 4690420
BIC: INGBNL2A
IBAN: NL72INGB0004690420
PayPal Account: info@voicesofwomenmedia.org

Please write “Nepal” in the bank transfer details so we can track it easily.

Rural Nepal Angry With Slow Aid: More Than 70,000 Houses Destroyed: 2.8 Million People Displaced

By Countercurrents.org, 30 April, 2015

Anger, frustration and tension are growing in parts of rural Nepal over the slow pace of relief efforts. Kathmandu also found protests over bus arrangement for going back to rural homes. Badly-affected villages are yet to receive any assistance. Survivors broke into government offices in Dolakha district to demand relief supplies. Survivors confronted prime minister Sushil Koirala in a Kathmandu hospital. There are long queues for food and water around Kathmandu.

Official death figure during afternoon of 30 April 2015 reached more than 5,500 people, and injured at least 11,000. Only 14 survivors have been saved from the rubble till now.

Media reports said:

Nepal’s prime minister Sushil Koirala was confronted by survivors desperate for relief deliveries when he visited a hospital in Kathmandu. Many survivors gathered in front of the prime minister to request to water, food and tents.

About 200 people blocked traffic in Kathmandu after many faced huge queues for free bus rides out of the city. The protesters confronted police and there were minor scuffles. But no arrests were made. Continue reading

Another predatory design in Nepal: Israeli “Aid” and the Fraudulent Claim of Humanitarian Credibility

Israel criticized for touting Nepal rescue while Gaza is still in ruins

by Ali Abunimah on Mon, 04/27/2015

Carrying the flag: A photo published by the Israeli army shows its personnel preparing to deploy to Nepal (via Twitter).

The director of Human Rights Watch has criticized Israel for touting its emergency aid efforts for earthquake-devastated Nepal while it continues to block reconstruction in Gaza.

“Easier to address a far away humanitarian disaster than the nearby one of Israel’s making in Gaza,” Kenneth Roth tweeted in reference to Israel’s announcement that it was flying 260 Israeli army medical and military personnel to Kathmandu.

“End the blockade!” Roth demanded. Earlier this month, 46 international aid agencies urged sanctions on Israel if it did not end the tight siege on Gaza that has prevented the rebuilding of a single home in the eight months since Israel’s devastating assault last summer.

“The blockade constitutes collective punishment; it is imposed in violation of [international humanitarian law] and, according to the UN, may entail the commission of war crimes,” the report, signed by Oxfam and Save the Children, among others, states.

Continue reading

“Aid” and the Political Scramble: India vs China in the Nepal Disaster-Capitalist Rush

[Frontlines:  Defensive about the appearance of an “aid” scramble in Nepal for power, influence and control, former Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan Zhang Chunxiang said, “We do not have competition with India and other countries. There is no competition in humanitarian assistance.” But, not to miss an opportunity….]

“In post-quake aid rush, Nepal neighbors jockey for position”

Nepalese volunteers unload relief material brought in an Indian air force helicopter for victims of Saturday’s earthquake at Trishuli Bazar in Nepal, Monday, April 27, 2015. Wedged between the two rising Asian powers of China and India, landlocked Nepal saw rescuers and offers of help pour from both sides within hours of its massive earthquake. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)

Nepalese volunteers unload relief material brought in an Indian air force helicopter for victims of Saturday’s earthquake at Trishuli Bazar in Nepal, Monday, April 27, 2015.  (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri) The Associated Press

Wedged between the two rising Asian powers of China and India, landlocked Nepal watched rescuers and offers of help pour in from both sides within hours of an earthquake that killed more than 4,000 people.

India, the traditional power in the region, launched Operation Friendship soon after the quake Saturday. It has sent the most help so far, deploying 13 aircraft and more than 500 rescuers as well as water, food, equipment and medical supplies.

China, increasingly making inroads in Nepal through everything from infrastructure investment to increased tourism, also pledged all-out assistance within hours of the disaster. It has sent 62 rescuers plus blankets, tents and generators and announced plans to send four planes and an additional 170 soldiers.

India’s rival, Pakistan, also has sent four cargo planes full of supplies, including concrete cutters and sniffer dogs.

The largesse of recent days is a microcosm of something much larger. It represents a subtle brand of disaster politics, a curious but understandable focus on strategically located Nepal, one of the poorest nations in its region but — clearly — a pocket of regional importance for powerful neighbors jockeying for position.

Continue reading

Haitian Lessons to Warn Nepalese: Beware Disaster Capitalists in Humanitarian Clothes

[As the horrifying death toll continues to fise to many thousands, amid the collapse of much of the home, business, and cultural structures in Nepal — the result of milleniums of colonial domination, oppression, and plunder — the enormous need for international rescue and reconstruction is a plaintive appeal to the good intentions of people everywhere.  But the aid will come with many conditions by the powers who bear gifts.  It is instructive to study the experience of the “aid” and “recovery” of Haiti from the devastating earthquake of 2010.  The US turned Haitian earthquake aid into neo-colonial, militarized occupation.  The struggles of people to control their own recovery has been an ongoing fight in Haiti, and now in Nepal.  The following except from a chapter in the important new book Good Intentions: Norms and Practices of Humanitarian Imperialism makes this Haitian experience hauntingly present in the streets of Kathmandu today.  —  Frontlines ed.]

US Imperialism and Disaster Capitalism in Haiti 

Keir Forgie, from Maximilian Forte’s new book: Good Intentions: Norms and Practices of Humanitarian Imperialism
 At 4:53 PM, on Monday, January 12, 2010, a 7.0 magnitude earthquake shocked Port-au-Prince, Haiti. It was the most devastating earthquake the country had experienced in over 200 years, with estimated infrastructure damage between $8 and $14 billion (Donlon, 2012, p. vii; Farmer, 2011, p. 54). This is particularly astounding considering that Haiti is recognized as the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, with 70% of individuals surviving on less than $2 US per day (Farmer, 2011, p. 60). The quake’s epicentre was located 15 miles southwest of Port-au-Prince, which is the most heavily populated area in all of Haiti (Donlon, 2012, p. vii). Approximately three million Haitians, one third of the country’s population, live in Port-au-Prince and every single individual was affected by the disaster: the Haitian government reported 230,000 deaths, 300,600 injured persons, and between 1.2 to 2 million displaced people (Donlon, 2012, p. vii). The country presented a “blank slate,” with all manner of political, economic, and social services in absolute ruin—an ideal circumstance to exercise the arms of the new (US) imperialism: notably, NGOs, the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), the militarization of humanitarian aid, and disaster capitalism.
US hegemonic globalization is the current world order—it is the new imperialism. The breadth of US influence across the globe in terms of politics, economics, and military are unparalleled across history, affording the nation the means to orchestrate geopolitics in its favor through coercion, masked by rhetorical altruism (Moselle, 2008, pp. 1, 8). However, the US is currently challenged by a state of economic decline and shifting international relations. In an effort to maintain its dominant position, the US must implement a number of novel strategies. As such, the “new imperialism” is distinguished by certain contemporary characteristics: notably, war in the pursuit of dwindling natural resources, the militarization of the social sciences, war corporatism, the romanticization of imperialism, and as a central focus to this paper, the framing of military interventions as “humanitarian,” legitimized through rhetoric of freedom, democracy, and the right to intervene. In truth, the militarization of humanitarian aid serves to facilitate the imposition of neoliberal economic policies through the exploitation of weakened states—a
strategy known as “disaster capitalism”.

Continue reading

Chand-led dissident Maoist group officially forms CPN Maoist

[The people of Nepal have a long history of revolutionary struggle, in the course of which they have been repeatedly betrayed by bourgeois nationalists, revisionists, and opportunists of many stripes.  Yet they continue to rise and struggle forward, through and over so many obstacles.  Now, a new Maoist party has been announced, aiming to serve the revolutionary interests of the Nepalese people, beginning with openly challenging those who have failed to serve those revolutionary interests since the open reversal and destruction of the People’s Liberation Army and liberated zones in the countryside in 2006.  We share with the Nepalese people the hope that this new effort will truly meet the difficult challenges ahead by rebuilding the base in the countryside and nationwide, reestablish the instruments of struggle and power, and carry through the struggle against revisionism and opportunism.  The Nepalese people have contributed much to revolution throughout the world, and will, we believe, find the ways to carry that struggle to new heights. — Frontlines ed.]
nepalnews.com, Tuesday, 02 December 2014
Netra Bikran Chand ‘Biplav’-led breakaway faction of the CPN-Maoist Monday announced the official formation of a new party Communist Party of Nepal Maoist.

Netra Bikran Chand ‘Biplav’-led breakaway faction of the CPN-Maoist Monday announced the official formation of a new party Communist Party of Nepal Maoist.

Netra Bikran Chand ‘Biplav’-led breakaway faction of the CPN-Maoist Monday announced the official formation of a new party Communist Party of Nepal Maoist.

Organising a press conference in Kathmandu on Monday, December 1, 2014, the newly formed party urged the ruling coalition parties to implement in full the 12-point understanding, the interim constitution and the Comprehensive Peace Agreement.

The group, which had recently announced it had severed ties with CPN-Maoist led by Mohan Baidhya, appealed to the parties to set change its attitude of treating Maoist forces peremptorily, and try and not isolate the former insurgent-fighters from the political process and deprive the people of their rights. Continue reading

Nepal: “Maoist”-Claimant Parties Moving Toward Unity on Political Program and Demands

[Ever since the leading Maoist party in Nepal abandoned its rural peasant base areas, dismantled its Liberation Army and People’s War in 2006, and re-oriented their forces and energies to win urban forces and alliances and reformist electoral prospects, there have been ongoing reductions in their influence, significant drops in support, and a string of organizational splits.  Now their electoral urban orientation has utterly failed, and there are attempts to rise from those bankrupt campaigns with a call to unite all who have similar urban and electoral political lines, and thereby reinvigorate without challenging the opportunism which dropped the revolutionary People’s War as a hot potato which was and is unacceptable to capitalists, regional hegemonists and imperialists.  Readers should not assume there is any substance to these parties’ current claim of the “Maoist” banner, as their every move  reflects a rejection of Maoist history and Maoist political line.  See this article for the latest news on this desperate effort. — Frontlines ed.]

Mao followers say they are close to forming alliance

Himalayan Times, 15 June 2014

TIKA R PRADHAN
KATHMANDU: Realising the strength of unity among like-minded forces, the parties having faith on Maoism and Mao ideology today agreed to join hands.

In a brief meeting of the top brass of the five parties — Unified CPN-Maoist, CPN-Maoist, CPN(Unified), CPN (Maoist) and Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP) — at the party headquarters of the CPN-M in Buddhanagar, the five parties have decided to forge a working alliance.

“Due to time constraint we could not draft the agreement today. We have decided to forge the alliance on Saturday,” said Mani Thapa of RCP.

Thapa said the five forces have agreed to create a forum among the like-minded forces to discuss ways to discuss a communist centre in Nepal, which will set the agenda for the overall communist movement in the country. Continue reading