It's been 9 days since the Nepal tragedy in which the country witnessed one of the most devastating earthquakes so far in its history. To help this small and landlocked country, generous supplies from around the world are pouring in. The UN's World Food Program is attempting day in and day out to meet food demands. Under such strenuous conditions, Nepal's Customs Department is still working as if it is peacetime. A large pile up of supplies is waiting at the airport to be scrutinized instead of being immediately ferried out to regions in need.


Valerie Amos, the UN's head of Humanitarian Affairs expressed her concerns yesterday over pile ups of supplies.

She said she was 'extremely concerned' about supplies being red taped and they (authorities) should loosen their inspections to speed up the relief process. Ms. Valerie's advice does seem imperative, especially when the death toll is rising at a steady pace. Yesterday, the United States' ambassador to Nepal, Peter W. Bodde said he spoke to Nepal's Prime Minister, Mr. Sushil Koirala, who then assured Bodde about ferrying out the supplies to affected areas.

Shift in goal of relief operations

For the first week after the disaster, the primary concern of the Government was to save as many lives as possible and provide immediate medical services to victims. On Sunday, Home Ministry spokesman Mr.

Laxmi Prasad Dhakal said relief operations were more important than rescue operations. This focus shift also suggests that the country will require aid like grains and tents more than heavy duty hydraulic machines. On the same lines, Nepal's prime minister has urged international donors to donate tents, tarpaulins and grains rather than donating non staple food products as some of items in supplies found to be of less use to residents.

Other Obstacles

Mountainous Terrains -Being a landlocked mountainous country, Nepal has many villages situated far in the valleys. Some of the hinterlands hardly have any road connectivity. Many of the government employed local truck drivers know the routes well; but most have returned to their villages to help their families.

To solve this problem, US military helicopter and 100 marines arrived in Kathmandu on Saturday.

Airport Runaway at risk -Tribhuvan International Airport of capital city Kathmandu has been enduring huge traffic of military carrier planes. Thought there was no sign of any cracks in the runway's inspection; government wants to take no chance with runway's conditions as it's the only lifeline for foreign aid. A recent notice to airport staff prohibits the landing of any plane exceeding 196 tonnes.