Sunday, 4 June, 2023

Nepal’s Humanitarian Help To Afghanistan

Being the birthplace of Gautam Buddha and the land of the world’s highest peak Sagarmatha (Mt. Everest), Nepal has a reason to boast about its glorious identity in the world stage. It is the land of enlightenment, great scholars, sages and seers who chose the Himalayas to gain and spread knowledge and wisdom for human wellbeing. When the neighbouring nations underwent political turmoil, Nepal has given shelters to refugees that even included kings, queens, courtiers and common people. The country was known for its humanitarian spirit towards those facing distress in life. This is a reason there is a popular Nepali saying– Saran line lai maran nagarnu (Do not kill those who come to take refuge in the country). In modern time, Nepal has played an important role in maintaining peace, order and harmony in the war-torn Asian, African and European nations. It has sent thousands of peace-keeping forces under the aegis of United Nations to those places.

Nepal has not been always a receiver of aid. It is ready to provide help to others when there is a friend in real need. In 2004 when a massive Tsunami hit Sri Lanka, Nepal had provided USD 100,000 to the island nation. During the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, Nepal despatched 100,000 face masks to China. It has recently extended a large-scale humanitarian support to Afghanistan through the UN. On January 14, Nepal government sent over 14 tonnes of humanitarian assistance in a chartered aircraft to Afghanistan. The relief materials included medicines, garments, and household items as per the list provided by the United Nations. They will be provided to Afghani women, children and elderly people currently facing humanitarian crisis. Six months after Afghanistan fell into the hands of Taliban, the land-locked nation has not received the adequate support from outside world.

On January 11, the UN and partners made an appeal for fund worth more than $5 billion to shore up collapsing basic services there, which have left 22 million people in need of assistance inside the country, and 5.7 million requiring help beyond its borders. Upon the UN's call for support, Minister for Foreign Affairs Dr. Narayan Khadka took initiative and urged the private sector to extend humanitarian assistance to Afghani people suffering from economic hardships and harsh winter weather. The Federation of Nepali Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Nepal Chamber of Commerce, the Confederation of Nepali Industries, Honorary Consular Corps- Nepal, Nepal Oil Corporation and Agrawal Sewa Kendra among others, donated the relief materials. The Himalaya Airlines provided free chartered flight to transport the materials to Afghanistan.

The other day, Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba expressed his gratefulness to the private sector for providing humanitarian support to Afghan citizens. He met with the industrialists, entrepreneurs and government representatives who returned home after handing over the humanitarian aid to Afghanistan. PM Deuba said that Nepali business community had shown cooperative gesture in response to the UN call for humanitarian support to Afghanistan. As the current chair of SAARC, Nepal has a responsibility to support its member states when they face humanitarian crisis. Nepal is one of a few nations to quickly assist Afghanistan as requested by the United Nations. It tops the list of nations to provide assistance to Afghanistan soon, said a UN official. Nepal's humanitarian support to Afghanistan has sent a positive message that the country is ready to extend support to other nations in the time of natural disasters and other situations of humanitarian crisis.