Dear friends and supporters
We hope you are all keeping well at this difficult time. Restrictions and lock-downs are a necessary part of life at the moment if we are to pull through safely.
Imagine the added difficulties of living in one of the remotest corners of the world with no easy access to frontline support. That is the reality of living in Humla in the far north west of Nepal bordering China/Tibet and officially the poorest district in Nepal. There are no roads to access services further south and air travel is limited and too expensive for the majority of inhabitants. However, these resileant people have survived centuries of dealing with disasters of all sorts and are doing so now with a remarkable spirit.They have embraced the government restrictions and are doing all they can to ensure their safety. But,they are surrounded by possible hazards and must be forever vigilant.
The government has set up a special fund – District Covid19 Prevention and Control Fund – to help support government clinics in each Rural Municipality (RM) to provide necessary medicines and equipment. The Nepal Trust contributed NRs 110000 and our implementation partner, Self Help Initiative Promotion Centre-Nepal (SHIP), NRs 55000.
SHIP, who manage our 5 clinics, have carried out a full survey and awareness programme providing all necessary medicines, materials and equipment. The exception is the clinic in the remote Limi valley because the high passes were still impassable but this will be rectified very soon as the trails open up. SHIP have also established Help Desks and Quarantine facilities at each site.
The Nepal government have managed very well to keep a cap on the overall infection rate and, as I write, there are only 120 infected people and no deaths in the whole country. This is quite remarkable given the country’s location sandwiched between China and India. However, there is sufficient evidence to suggest more cases are arriving in the country as migrant workers return and attempt to get back to their home villages. This is the case as infection rates are increasing in the likes of Nepalgunj and Surkhet south of Humla. More severe travel lock-downs in these areas will have an enormous impact on travel to, and in, Humla.
The Chinese government have closed the border with Humla and stopped all cross boarder activity. This has already had a severe impact on the local economy. Cross border trade is a major economic lifeline for the villages of north Humla. Malnutrition and starvation are already becoming evident and expected to get worse. We are expecting requests for help as the situation gets worse.It is very important that we all remain very vigilant and help these fragile and remote communities to survive the pandemic.
We know that requests for help are everywhere and it is difficult to prioritise from limited resources but if you can help with a donation we would be very grateful. We expect the demands on our resources to increase as the pandemic takes a firmer hold. Please tell your friends and colleagues about the foregotten parts of the world like the ‘Hidden Himalayas’ and encourage them to support us.
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