Dutch minister Ploumen visits LWF Nepal relief work

Dutch foreign trade and development cooperation minister Lilianne Ploumen visits the relief work of the Lutheran World Federation Nepal in Indrayani village. Photo: LWF Nepal
Dutch foreign trade and development cooperation minister Lilianne Ploumen visits the relief work of the Lutheran World Federation Nepal in Indrayani village. Photo: LWF Nepal

“Deeply impressed with resilience of Nepalese people”

KATHMANU, Nepal/ GENEVA, 15 June 2015 (LWI) - There was an awkward moment when Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation Lilianne Ploumen visited the relief work of The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) Nepal in Indrayani village. The village in Lalitpur district was badly hit during the April 25 earthquake and lies mostly in rubble. LWF Nepal staff wondered whether the Minister would dare to cross the dusty mounts of broken bricks. She did, and during her one hour visit talked to many community members.

Minister Ploumen said she was impressed with the organized way in which the relief took place, and the attitude of the Nepalese people. “I leave the country with mixed feelings,” she said. “On the one hand I feel sad about the destruction I saw. On the other hand I am deeply impressed with the resilience of the Nepalese people, the way communities have come together to deal with the disaster.”

Dalit and Newar communities

On behalf of ACT Alliance members, LWF Nepal, was providing basic food and emergency shelter to the families of Indrayani within a week of the quake. During the follow up visit with the minister, inhabitants were given hygiene kits, utensils and latrines. Women and children received psychosocial counseling.

“The community in the village consists mostly of two groups: Newars and Dalits, or artisans,” LWF Nepal’s country representative Dr Prabin Manandhar explained in his briefing to the minister. Relief is being offered to both communities and the team has committed to also provide livelihood support.

The Dutch minister sat down with students in their classroom while they received psychosocial counselling using games and drawings. She also talked to different female community members, and said she was most touched by a displaced mother telling her she and her family had no place to go back to. “Having lost everything and not knowing where to return to, that must be terrible,” the Minister said.

The Dutch government has provided 10 million euros to Nepal for immediate relief after the earthquake. A joint fundraiser through Giro 555, a Dutch fundraising initiative, raised another 20 million, which will be channeled through Dutch NGOs working in Nepal, including ACT Alliance partner ICCO. LWF Nepal and ICCO will work jointly on relief and rehabilitation programs in one of the worst affected districts.