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Quake's Effects Compounded By Poor Infrastructure, Political Issues


Let's learn what we can about one of those remote villages. Subhash Ghimire is the editor of Nepal's Republica newspaper. We reached him by phone in Kathmandu. He is from a village in the mountainous district called Gorkha, which is near the earthquake's epicenter.

SUBHASH GHIMIRE: I was talking to my parents earlier today. They have not received any support yet. There is not a single house that stands in the village. It's turned into a dustbowl basically. My father was saying that they'll soon run out of food because all the food in the village is buried inside the houses, so they have nothing left.

INSKEEP: He says some roads are blocked by debris, and there are also political roadblocks.

GHIMIRE: All these relief supplies have been sent to the headquarters in Gorkha that have not been distributed. The helicopters, they have not been sent to the right places, lots of political parties and leaders trying to influence relief efforts to their own constituencies. So it's been politicized beyond imagination here.


Then there's the massive task of rebuilding. Nepal is still a small country with a tiny economy.

GHIMIRE: I was talking to one the lawmakers yesterday, and he was telling me that optimistically speaking, we'd have to spend somewhere between two to four years of our national budget - entire budget - into rebuilding the destruction that happened during this earthquake.

MONTAGNE: And he says this situation is made worse by the fact that Nepal was already rebuilding after a 10-year-long civil war.

GHIMIRE: We are still trying to get out of the conflict and trying to rebuild some of the stock ships that were destroyed during the wartime. And now you add all this destruction from the earthquake, and it has taken us back at least a decade now.

INSKEEP: The words of Subhash Ghimire, editor of Nepal's Republica newspaper, who was in the capital, Kathmandu. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.