UK Minister Rory Stewart visits Nepal to assess reconstruction progress (UK Embassy Press release)

Rory Stewart, UK Minister of State at the Department for International Development (DFID) is in Nepal this week to see the impact of last year’s earthquakes, assess the progress made on reconstruction and reaffirm the UK’s support for Nepal’s development.

Last year the UK played a leading role in the Nepal earthquakes response by addressing the humanitarian needs of the Nepali people and supporting the long-term recovery and reconstruction efforts of the country. UK support is helping to build a safer, healthier and more prosperous world which is firmly in the interests of both countries.

The Minister met with Mr Krishna Bahadur Mahara, Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister to discuss the next phase of UK support to Nepal. He also met with the CEO of the Nepal Reconstruction Authority, senior government officials and DFID programme partners to discuss how access to bank accounts could be increased to speed up the payment of housing grants to earthquake affected households. The Minister will meet with Honourable Prime Minister Dahal  before he leaves Nepal. He is the first UK Minister to visit Nepal since the new UK Government was formed in July.

Speaking on this first day in the country, UK International Development Minister Rory Stewart said:

“I am delighted to return to Nepal in the year that our two countries are celebrating our strong 200 year relationship.  The UK stood by the Nepali people in their time of need following the tragic earthquakes last year, and we continue to support the country to build back better and get on track towards a more prosperous and stable future.  I look forward to meeting with Mr Krishna Bahadur Mahara to discuss how we can build further upon our two countries’ unique partnership”.

The Minister will see first-hand the impact of the earthquake and how UK aid is helping Nepal to “build back better”. DFID’s work with the Government of Nepal and the finance sector can allow grants and housing support to be paid directly to the people of Nepal through easy to access mobile banking. This is particularly important in remote areas where there are very few bank branches. There are currently 143 Branchless Banking points in Nepal with over 10,000 new accounts opened in the first four months of roll out.

To see how DFID Nepal works in support of poor and marginalised communities the Minister will meet representatives from community groups, local government and the police. He will also meet with the CEO of Investment Board Nepal (IBN) to discuss the UK’s support for hydropower projects in Nepal. The Minister will return to Kathmandu at the end of this visit to meet with DFID Nepal staff.

From 2000 to 2002 Rory Stewart travelled on foot across Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and Nepal, staying in 500 village houses on the journey. He arrived in Nepal in September 2001 and walked right across Nepal‎, West to East.

The British Embassy Kathmandu

Sept. 1, 2016

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