KATHMANDU (Reuters) - Britain’s Prince Harry, on a four-day tour of Nepal, visited centuries-old heritage sites on Sunday devastated by earthquakes last year and met some survivors, many of whom are still living in makeshift shelters.
Nearly 9,000 people were killed, 22,000 injured and close to a million homes were destroyed in the tiny Himalayan country in two earthquakes in April and May last year.
Tens of thousands of survivors are still living in huts made from tin sheets and tarpaulin as reconstruction has been delayed by political bickering over a new constitution.
“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,” Harry said at a government reception celebrating 200 years of ties with Britain.
The 31-year-old prince, who is fifth in line to the British throne, visited the Patan Durbar Square, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, near capital Kathmandu, to see damage to an ancient royal palace and surrounding temples due to the magnitude 7.8 earthquake on April 25. The second, 7.3 magnitude quake struck on May 12.
The restoration of monuments is going on with traditional craft skills like wood-carving and gilding. He also visited some artisans working at the site.
Later Harry traveled to the temple town of Bhaktapur, east of Kathmandu, and visited a pre-positioning site for quake emergency supplies - shelter kits, water and sanitation equipment - and met survivors at a camp for displaced families.
Since arriving in Nepal on Saturday, Harry has met with Nepal’s first woman president, Vidhya Devi Bhandari, and Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli.
During the tour that ends on Wednesday, he will also meet families of Gurkha soldiers with whom he had served in Afghanistan at the lake city of Pokhara, 125 km (79 miles) west of Kathmandu.
Additional reporting by Ross Adkin; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky