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Nepal quake spurs international aid and discussion

As the death toll in Nepal rises, the aftermath of the earthquake continues to devastate the nation and has caused significant social unrest. On Wednesday, April 29, a small group of protesters, frustrated with the slow pace of aid delivery, clashed with Kathmandu police. Before the earthquake’s aftershock, measuring a 6.7 magnitude, the country’s government struggled to provide enough relief aid for its citizens. According to The New York Times, government would have trouble “maintaining adequate supplies of water, electricity and food.” However, because of political circumstances, Nepal was hesitant to accept international aid. The government itself, due to constant attempts to compromise on its political agenda, has largely unresponsive.

Given the aftershocks of this natural disaster, the frustration with the paralyzed government could turn potentially explosive if the relief and rescue efforts fail in the coming weeks. China, India and the United States have been pushing aid, and not until this week did the Nepalese government appeal for international aid. On Wednesday, protesters gathered in the capital grew increasingly frustrated with the administration and its slow acceptance of relief aid.

With the acknowledgement from Nepal’s prime minister that the death toll could eventually reach 10,000, the rest of the world is likely to question why accepting relief aid took so long. In addition to the enormous death toll, the country’s infrastructure has been devastated and the rebuilding effort will need to be enormous.

An inatentive government may not be well equipped to deal with a natural disaster, but it is hard to imagine one that resists aid for its own people. Resources to help with those struggling in Nepal were available and ready. Still, the government was unwilling to accept them until they had completely used up their own aid resources and were forced to accept that they did not have the space or financial ability to help their own people.

This resistance to outside help reflects greater problems within the innerworkings of the political system. It seems that attempts to utilize the country’s own resources before accepting those offered by others is a reaction of pride, where those in power appear afraid to show their own limitations. This type of reaction has no place in the modern world, and the well-being of a country’s people should come before maintaining public image.

While Nepal’s government may have been stubborn at first in resisting aid, it is admirable to see other parts of the world coming together to help fellow humans in a time of disaster and need. These actions can serve as an example to all of us. We should care less about political boundaries, and look towards one another more often for necessary aid.

Margaret Shaver ’17 is from Centennial, Colo. She majors in English and sociology/anthropology with a management concentration.

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