SHIKHA PRASAI, Executive director, Interface, Nepal – media for arts n rights and a peacebuilder speaks to Teresa Rehman about her quake-affected country
How would u assess the extent of the damage done by this earthquake?
Nepal had just come out of decade long conflict. Life in all terms — social, political and economic were in the process of being restored. Despite The delay the constitution was being drafted. But even before people could take sigh of relief we were faced with disaster and this probably is the biggest disaster for the country and people, with loss of life, property and heritage as well as trauma.
Do you think Nepal was ready for such a disaster?
For a recuperating country, the damages by the Earthquake will takes its toll for a long time now.
How has been the role of the media?
Media has truly played the role of the fourth state and probably first in action to report under challenging situation. The Nepal police and army have played a commendable role in rescue.
What has been the role of neighbouring countries like India?
The immediate response from Indian government has been much appreciated by the people. They were the first and probably one to act faster than our own government. The response from the international community has been overwhelming and our government needs to act fast to coordinate so that response and relief reaches the affected.
What is the need of the hour?
The immediate need is the basics. Besides, rescue settlement of the population in safer areas is urgent. Tents have not reached, food supply, basic health hygiene and sanitation if not taken care could create another disaster. As I report to its thundering heavy rainfall will add to more disaster. It is a very grave situation here. Even people managing till date under the open sky and are on high risk.