Counting the Cost

The economic impact of Nepal’s earthquake

What will it take to rebuild Nepal’s shattered economy and who will step up to help one of the world’s poorest nations?

Nepal is home to the world’s highest mountain and is wedged between two growing economic superpowers, but it is one of the poorest countries in the world.

Now it is struggling to cope with the worst earthquake to hit the Himalayan nation in 80 years. The magnitude 7.9 earthquake struck some 80km northwest of the capital Kathmandu and has affected eight million people, just under one-third of the population with upwards of 5,000 people killed.

The economic losses could be as much as $10bn, according to an estimate from US Geological Survey. The cost of rebuilding is $5bn, according to IHS. All this in a country with economic growth that was already expected to slow, with an unemployment rate of more than 40 percent, and a reliance on agriculture, tourism and remittances to support its $19bn economy.

The international support has rolled in led by Nepal’s closest neigbours. India despatched 16 military and civilian aircraft, eight helicopters and 1,000 members of its National Disaster Response. Nepal’s northern neighbour China has a 62 member search and rescue team on the ground and has pledged more than $10m to the effort. The Asian Development Bank has given $3m for humanitarian efforts and pledged another $200m for reconstruction work.

And every last dollar will be needed, when you see the enormity of the task. Our correspondent Andrew Simmons reports on what the Nepalese Army has been doing, and trying to do, in the immediate aftermath of the earthquake.

What will it take to rebuild Nepal’s shattered economy? What lessons can be learned? And who will step up to help one of the world’s poorest nations?

Kenichi Yokoyama, the Nepal country director for the Asian Development Bank, is joining us via Skype from Kathmandu to talk about aid efforts and the economic cost of Nepal’s earthquake.


Oceans cover more than two-thirds of our planet. Not only are they a vast multi-trillion dollar resource, but they are also crucial in the cycle of life itself.

‘Oceanomics’ is a created word, but it is a good way of contemplating the value of the ocean’s riches. If we think about the ocean as an economy you would be looking at an output worth $2.5tn a year. That would pop ‘the Ocean’ in at number seven in the world’s top 10 economies, after the US, China, Japan, Germany, France and the UK. 

It generates hundreds of millions of jobs in sectors like tourism, fishing and shipping and billions of people rely on it as a food source. Those numbers come from a new WWF report.

But where is this economy going wrong? The ocean’s resources are being eroded – potentially brought down entirely – by overfishing, disappearing coral reefs and endemic mangrove destruction.
Nick Clark, our environmental editor, reports from Qatar. And Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, the director of The Global Change Institute in Queensland and the lead writer on the report, talks to Counting the Cost about ‘Oceanomics’.

UK elections and Brits abroad

The UK election taking place on May 7 has been dominated by the economy and immigration, with some voters deeply unhappy with the free movement of people from the European Union. So Prime Minister David Cameron has promised a referendum on staying in the EU if he remains in power.
But it is easy to forget how many Brits are living outside the UK. Laurence Lee reports from Spain where one million Brits live.

Electric cars

If you want to find the heart of the car business in the US these days, you better forget Motor City in Detroit. Head to the West Coast where the tech kids people are – Silicon Valley. Al Jazeera’s John Hendren brings this report.