Citizens' Issues
India loses $9.8 billion every year due to disasters
India suffers losses of $9.8 billion every year owing to multi-hazard disasters as 58.6 percent of its land is prone to earthquakes and 8.5 percent vulnerable to cyclone, as per a UN estimate.
 
The UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction's (UNISDR) Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction (GAR) 2015, a risk profile of India, estimates that average annual loss (AAL) from multi-hazard disasters in India is to the tune of $9.8 billion per year.
 
According to a home ministry report citing the urban development ministry-sponsored Vulnerability Atlas of India, the country is vulnerable to various types of disasters - 58.6 percent of its land is prone to earthquakes, 8.5 percent is vulnerable to cyclone and 5 percent vulnerable to floods.

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Fortis sells Singapore facility to Fullerton for $83.5 mn
Leading healthcare delivery provider Fortis on Monday announced sale of its Singapore-based healthcare services facility RadLink-Asia Pte Ltd to Fullerton Healthcare group for $83.5 million (Rs.531 crore).
 
"The significant value we have created in our international healthcare businesses is being unlocked and will be ploughed back to strengthen our growth in India," Fortis Healthcare chairman Malvinder Singh and vice-chairman Shivinder Singh said in a joint statement released from Gurgaon.
 
The deal is expected to be completed by May 12.
 
The Singapore-based Fullerton group provides corporate healthcare solutions in the Asia-Pacific region through 130 clinics across the region with a global network of 1,000 doctors and nurses.
 
"The divestment of this last major international business is in line with our strategic decision to intensify our focus on our core hospital and diagnostics business in India," the statement said.
 
J.P. Morgan and Religare Capital Markets are financial advisors to Fortis for this transaction.
 
Fortis provides its healthcare services across India, Singapore, Dubai, Mauritius and Sri Lanka with 55 facilities having about 10,000 beds and 270 diagnostic centres.
 
The RadLink is a subsidiary of Fortis' Singapore subsidiary.
 
The deal at a lower price comes after Fortis failed to sell the facility to Medi-Rad Associates Ltd, a subsidiary of the Malaysian firm IHH Healthcare Berhad in September 2014 for $109 million (Rs.660 crore) after the Competition Commission of Singapore raised concerns over the acquisition process.
 
Fortis earlier withdrew its healthcare services from Hong Kong, Australia and Vietnam, selling its assets in the region.

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Nepal asks foreign rescuers to go, India lists assistance
Nepal on Monday told all countries to withdraw their rescuers from the quake-ravaged country as India said it had carried out its biggest ever response to any natural calamity abroad.
 
As the death toll from the April 25 disaster surged to 7,365 with more than 14,000 people injured, Nepal prepared to send home all foreign rescue and search teams.
 
Since search and rescue work was almost complete, the remaining task can be executed by Nepali teams, the Central Natural Calamity Relief Committee said.
 
New Delhi, which has deployed hundreds of military and medical personnel across the Himalayan nation, confirmed it would be pulling out its rescue teams from Nepal along with 34 other countries.
 
"Rescue teams from all 34 nations have been asked to withdraw as it is now nine days since the quake," external affairs ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup said. He added that India's "relief efforts will continue".
 
The highest number of 2,838 deaths has been recorded in Sindhupalchok district followed by Kathmandu (1,202). Officials said 10,744 government buildings had been flattened. Similarly, 191,058 houses were destroyed.
 
Despite asking foreign teams to go, Nepal sought more relief material and funds from the international community to help the quake victims.
 
Foreign Minister Mahendra Bahadur Pandey said: "We need huge (amounts of) relief material to address the woes of thousands, including funds for rebuilding, reconstruction and relocation of thousands of structures and displaced people."
 
Pandey was addressing the diplomatic communities including the ambassadors of India, China and the US. 
 
In New Delhi, speaking on the occasion of Buddha Poornima, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the situation in Nepal was "beyond our imagination" and said India would share the pain of the Nepalese people.
 
"I pray to Buddha that the earthquake victims should not suffer any more," he added.
 
In Kathmandu, the Indian embassy declared that New Delhi's massive rescue and relief work in Nepal was its biggest response to a natural calamity in a foreign country.
 
Ambassador Ranjit Rae made the observation during a briefing given to the Kathmandu-based diplomats on India's ongoing assistance following the quake that has caused widespread destruction.
 
"Operation Maitri" is the largest ever support operation by India in response to a natural calamity abroad, a statement from the Indian embassy said. 
 
"It represented not only the deepest commitment at the highest political level in India but also overwhelming outpouring of support from the people of India and over a dozen Indian states including those bordering Nepal."
 
He said the first Indian Air Force flight landed in Kathmandu with rescue teams from the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and relief material within six hours of the devastating quake.
 
Thereafter, 32 IAF flights brought in 520 tonnes of relief material containing tents, blankets, medicines, food, water, heavy engineering equipment, ambulances, RO plants, oxygen generators, two full-fledged army field hospitals with 18 medical teams, 18 army engineering teams and 16 NDRF teams. 
 
"These teams have been working round-the-clock since their deployment in close coordination with the government of Nepal," he said.
 
Eight MI-17 and five ALH helicopters of the Indian Army, operating from Kathmandu and Pokhara, have carried 207 tonnes of relief material in 449 sorties, evacuated over 900 injured and transported over 1,700 stranded people of various nationalities, the envoy said.
 
He added that some 4,500 tonnes of relief material containing food, water, medicines, tents, blankets, tarpaulins and plastic sheets from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh had reached Nepal.
 
Eight fresh tremors were recorded on Monday in Nepal. A senior official said the aftershocks might last for months "and there is no need to worry much".

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