Nepal Donor Conference

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry's Statement

Nepal Quarterly Newsletter, April-June 2015

June 25, 2015

Excerpts as read by the U.S. Ambassador to Nepal, Peter W. Bodde on June 25, 2015 at the International Conference on Nepal’s Reconstruction.

The past two months have been among the most challenging in Nepal’s history. I will never forget the searing images of pain and devastation in the aftermath of the April 25 earthquake and the May 12 aftershock. I know that even today millions of Nepalis are unable to return to their homes and are struggling to plant their crops and send their kids to school. I will also never forget the courage and heroism the Nepali people showed from the moment the earthquake struck as citizens risked their lives to rescue neighbors from the rubble. Using social media, young Nepalis organized as never before to deliver aid to remote communities. We honor and remember all those who died during the earthquakes, as well as the brave United States Marines and Nepalese military personnel who died providing emergency relief.

I am immensely proud of the U.S. response to the earthquake, which represents the best of the American people. Within hours of the earthquake we began to deploy hundreds of search and rescue personnel, emergency responders, and military relief personnel. We contributed $62 million in humanitarian assistance during the initial emergency response. The U.S. response saved lives and relieved suffering.

Nepal’s many friends in the United States have shown their generosity since the moment the earthquake struck: From bake sales to swim meets, community groups nationwide raised funds for Nepal earthquake relief. U.S. businesses have pledged over $20 million in cash and in-kind contributions in support of relief and recovery efforts in Nepal. U.S. NGOs have provided assistance worth more than $150 million. And in a “virtuous circle,” resettled Bhutanese refugees – refugees Nepal generously hosted for more than two decades before they immigrated to the United States – came together as a community to raise funds for relief programs in Nepal.

Today, I am pleased to announce a pledge that increases the total amount of U.S. emergency relief and early recovery assistance to $130 million. This is only the beginning of our contribution and we, with the support of our Congress, will continue to work with Nepal to support its long-term earthquake recovery needs across multiple years. From relief to recovery to reconstruction, the US Agency for International Development will continue to provide assistance to address critical development needs. And the US Millennium Challenge Corporation will support Nepal’s longer term needs in the energy and transport sectors, areas critical to sustainable economic growth.

Working in close collaboration with the Government of Nepal, our development partners, and the international community, we will show Nepali citizens how to rebuild seismically-stable houses in affected areas. Where children are learning outside in makeshift tents, we will help build temporary learning centers. We will help Nepalis get back on their feet and rebuild livelihoods by strengthening agricultural systems, the lifeblood of 75 percent of Nepalis who rely on agriculture for livelihoods and food. We will help protect Nepal’s most vulnerable, including those susceptible to human trafficking. And we will lay the foundation for a more resilient Nepal by helping build institutions that can respond effectively to future disasters.

The United States has stood by Nepal for decades through development achievements and democratic transitions. And even though I am unable to attend this conference in person, I want to make it clear: the American people will stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Nepal through this challenge as well.

Issuing Country 
Tuesday, August 18, 2015 - 12:15am