Nepali officials on Wednesday reported substantial progress in the reconstruction efforts following the devastating earthquakes in 2015, as donors and development partners pledged more support to the South Asian country.
Addressing the opening ceremony of the International Conference on Nepal's Reconstruction 2021 hosted by the Nepali government, Nepali President Bidya Devi Bhandari spoke of the remarkable progress in rebuilding over 700,000 individual houses and most of the damaged schools, health institutions, and heritage sites.
"The reconstructed infrastructure has become stronger, earthquake-resilient, and our future generation also can use them for prolonged periods," she said. "Nepal is a quake-prone country that we cannot change. We can minimize the risk by building a stronger structure."
Nearly 9,000 people were killed and over 22,300 others injured in the massive quakes that hit Nepal in April and May of 2015, which also left hundreds of thousands of houses, heritage sites, and public buildings badly damaged.
Nepal received most of the 4.1 billion U.S. dollars in aid pledged by development partners at the international conference on its reconstruction held in June 2015, according to Sushil Gyawali, Chief Executive Officer of the National Reconstruction Authority.
Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi delivered a speech at the conference via video link, calling for further cooperation in the fight against COVID-19 pandemic, continuous support for post-earthquake reconstruction, and deepening cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative.
Representatives from other donors and development partners also pledged more support to Nepal's recovery and reconstruction efforts.