WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, released the following statement marking the one year anniversary of two earthquakes that hit Nepal, killing more than 8,000 people and demolishing half a million homes:
“With over 40 percent of Nepal’s population living in extreme poverty, Nepal is still recovering from last year’s devastating earthquake. Over the past year political tensions and resource shortages have hampered the relief and reconstruction effort. With an adopted constitution and supplies flowing into the country, I now urge the Nepali authorities to accelerate the reconstruction process so that those in the earthquake affected zones are not subject to another winter without shelter. Before the earthquake, Nepal made significant progress in reducing poverty and was on a course to meet its Millennium Development Goals. As they rebuild their communities, the people of Nepal have demonstrated powerful resilience, strength and bravery.
“In the wake of this devastation, I alongside Senator Kirk, introduced S. 1882, the Nepal Recovery Act. This bill reinforces the U.S. commitment to stand by Nepal and authorizes funds for programs that ensure that the country rebuilds in ways that foster resilience to future earthquakes, landslides, and other natural disasters. The bill ensures accountability for the programming, and the importance of addressing the vulnerability of girls and boys at risk of trafficking, and other forms of abuse during such tragedies. The bipartisan legislation passed unanimously out of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in January and is now pending on the full Senate floor.”