Prince Harry arrives in Nepal & sees quake devastation

Prince Harry landed in Nepal yesterday, to begin his tour of the country.

He arrived at the Tribhuvan International Airport and was welcomed at the VIP lounge by Minister of State for Federal Affairs and Local Development Kunti Kumari Shahi, with high-ranking officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the British Ambassador to Nepal Richard Morris. The Royal began his tour by paying a visit to Nepal’s Prime Minister, Khadga Prasad Oli.

Harry was greeted with garlands in Kathmandu today by five colourfully dressed local girls known ‘pancha kanya’, the five virgins. Prince Harry was also greeted with a garland and a tilak mark of respect on his forehead as he arrives at in Bhaktapur in Kathmandu.

During his meeting with the president, the issue of women’s rights and end of child marriages were discussed.

Speaking at a reception by the government in Kathmandu, he told the guests, “Like so many people back home, I have grown up seeing beautiful images of Nepal in books and on television. I am sure you hear this all the time, but your country holds a special place in the imagination for so many people around the world.”

He also said:  “I also know that I arrive here in Nepal as you approach the first anniversary of the earthquakes that took so many lives and that you are working to recover from.

“I pay my respects to those who perished and hope to do what I can to shine a spotlight on the resolve and resilience of the Nepalese people. I want to show all those people around the world who want to help that this is a country open for business – so please come and visit again, I look forward to exploring your landscapes, celebrating your culture, and I hope to make many new friends along the way.”

Prince Harry looked at the affected areas of Nepal, still partially in ruins from the quake. The Prince also visited the Patan Palace courtyard, and was also invited to remove his shoes, as a mark of respect and said ‘good thing I’ve got the right socks on’.

Harry looks at the devastation caused by the earthquake in Nepal. I-images

Harry looks at the devastation caused by the earthquake in Nepal. I-images

A £22million UK aid programme, funded by UK taxpayers through DFID, established six disaster preparation sites three years ago.

Prince Harry, 31, toured some of Kathmandu’s most iconic sights and saw the devastation caused by last year’s earthquakes, which claimed more than 8,000 lives and destroyed some of the country’s most historic temples and palaces.

As he talked to one family inside their tent he told them “I’m sorry that you have to live in here, but you’re all alive. I know the earthquake hit and you now live here, but in some way you’re lucky that you’re all alive and no one lost their lives.”

As he toured the camp Harry greeted the residents and said  “I have so much respect and admiration for the amazing Gurkhas, the whole world over recognises the Gurkhas for their courage and their amazing strength. So its nice to finally have the chance to come to Nepal and meet the families and the people and the place from which the Gurkhas come from.”

Gurkhas are selected from Nepal, and for a number of centuries have served alongside the British Army.

The guide told the Prince  that “People must live here for one or two years for the Government to rebuild their houses.”

A spokesman for DFID said: “The money has been given to the British and Nepali Red Cross which has also trained thousands of volunteers so they know what to do. After the earthquake struck, in 24 hours we reached 800 households, and 10,000 were reached in the first couple of days. The UK is one of the biggest aid donors in Nepal and we’ve stayed here giving humanitarian aid throughout the past year.

Harry joked about how hard the carving was. I-images Harry joked about how hard the carving was. I-images [/caption

“We in the UK should be very proud of all the aid we’ve given – we’ve saved thousands of lives. The UK public do really care and want to make a difference. It really resonates with the British people and their generosity should be applauded.”

During the day, as he walked around the palace gardens Prince Harry witnessed craft workers in action and tried his hand at wood carving. The charming Prince said: “I did carving at school years ago but nothing like this. I can’t do it, not many people can. I am showing how hard it is to do this – wow ,” he laughed.

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