How best to help Nepal

China is likely to play a major role in rebuilding a shattered Nepal following the country's devastating earthquake.

The death toll from Saturday's earthquake in Nepal, the worst in 80 years, has passed 5,000. The cost is put at $2.8bn-$4.5bn, says the Financial Times. International aid has poured in. India and China have sent aircraft, rescuers and supplies; Pakistan has sent cargo planes; and, says the BBC, Britain's £15m contribution has put it at the top of the global donor league.

How can we best help? asks Claire Bennett in The Guardian. Evidence from previous natural disasters reveals that the situation gets worse in subsequent weeks as hospitals are overwhelmed, supplies run low and those in temporary shelter "succumb to exposure and disease".

The 2010 earthquake in Haiti, a country similar to Nepal in economic terms, received huge amounts of international aid but is still recovering five years on. One major issue was "ragtag brigades of well-intentioned do-gooders" flooding Haiti but lacking the skills and coordination to have an impact.

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Nepal does not need untrained bystanders, particularly given that its only international airport is damaged. It needs money and, in the long run, sustainabilityis key. Nepal is earthquake-prone. The houses that withstand future shocks will neither be the cheapest nor volunteer-built.

Quite, says The Daily Telegraph. Such disasters are not really "natural", but rather "almost entirely man made": it is "shoddy building that kills people". A similar quake might kill 100 times as many people in Nepal as in California. Help with this issue is the "real foreign aid" that Nepal needs.

Technological expertise and advice are key, particularly as the risk is rising due to rapid urbanisation in the region, agrees The Times. Much of the help is likely to come from its neighbours, rising Asian superpowers China and India, says Didi Tang in The Independent. The "largesse of recent days represents a subtle brand of disaster politics".

Nepal may be one of Asia's poorest nations, but it's strategically located no wonder its "powerful neighbours [are] jockeying for position". While China's relief effort may not rival India's, with "nearly £2.5trn in foreign currency reserves and a vast engineering and manufacturing capacity", it is likely to play a major role in Nepal's rebuilding process.

Emily Hohler

Emily has worked as a journalist for more than thirty years and was formerly Assistant Editor of MoneyWeek, which she helped launch in 2000. Prior to this, she was Deputy Features Editor of The Times and a Commissioning Editor for The Independent on Sunday and The Daily Telegraph. She has written for most of the national newspapers including The Times, the Daily and Sunday Telegraph, The Evening Standard and The Daily Mail, She interviewed celebrities weekly for The Sunday Telegraph and wrote a regular column for The Evening Standard. As Political Editor of MoneyWeek, Emily has covered subjects from Brexit to the Gaza war.

Aside from her writing, Emily trained as Nutritional Therapist following her son's diagnosis with Type 1 diabetes in 2011 and now works as a practitioner for Nature Doc, offering one-to-one consultations and running workshops in Oxfordshire.