Speech Joyce Sylvester – herdenking Nepal 24 april 2016
Excellency, dear people of the Nepalese community, dear people, dear organizers of today’s event.
My name is Joyce Sylvester and I am the chair of the Dutch joint Appeal Alliance, better known as Giro555. I am here on behalf of the 11 aid organizations behind Giro555 who work in Nepal and provide support in Nepal.
A year has passed since the horrific earthquakes in Nepal. It was a nightmare that became reality. And as if it wasn’t enough, another one followed only a few weeks later.
In just a few minutes, people lost everything: their houses, their means of income, their loved ones. Hospitals, schools and infrastructure were destroyed. The scale of this destruction was and is impossible to comprehend. Today, here in the Netherlands, in Nepal and in many more places, we commemorate the victims of this disaster.
Two days after the devastating earthquake members of Giro555 launched a National Appeal in order to raise funds for aid for the victims. All Dutch media raised awareness for this campaign. Children, schools and companies collected money by going door to door selling cakes or by organising events like theatre plays. Dutch VIP’s, like the singers, actors, and soccer players asked people to donate. In total 25 million euro was raised. This money is used by 11 aid organisations to provide emergency aid and for support during the reconstruction phase. Until now 600.000 people were reached thanks to the contributions of the Dutch audience.
The destructive result the earthquake had on the people in Nepal, has been aggravated by complex and extreme circumstances. The blockade at the Indian border that went on for months restricted the supply fuel, food and other essential relief items. The lack of fuel was a huge obstacle in transportation of relief items to affected remote areas.
The time consuming government regulations are another challenge. Hundreds of thousands of people are living in temporary shelters and are still not sure when they will be able to build a new home – a place that is safe and earthquake resistant and offers them a new start. These challenges have seriously affected the timeliness of the humanitarian response. I do ask the Nepalese government, for the sake of hundred of thousands of people who are living in temporary shelters, to accept all the plans of aid organizations, so all the organisations can start rapidly with the recovery of houses.
In these difficult circumstances local and international aid workers, show great flexibility and creativity in their search for alternative solutions. In close collaboration with the government and the people of Nepal themselves they have worked courageously to help relieve the needs of people in Nepal. Temporary shelters and schools were build, blankets, food, hygiene kits and teaching materials were distributed. This would not have been possible without the enormous support of people in the Netherlands and other countries.
But much work is still ahead of us. Its time to really end the phase of emergency aid and start a new phase where we can really work towards a new future. Humanitarian organizations that take part in Giro555 will keep on striving to minimize the needs of the most vulnerable families and give them ways to be prepared for new disasters.
I am grateful to the aid workers who convert the donations into concrete actions and relief. But most of all I praise the resilience of the people in Nepal. I wish them strength and courage to find ways to overcome any internal differences and challenges and too speed up the process of reconstruction, so the people affected by the earthquake can further rebuild their future.