Nepalhilfe Beilngries e.V.

28 Jahre Nepalhilfe Beilngries e.V.

Five years after the earthquake – Activities related to the corona pandemic

Gratefully receiving relief goods
Gratefully receiving relief goods
Relief workers (in background) arriving at Chautara, Sindhupalchok District
Relief workers (in background) arriving at Chautara, Sindhupalchok District
A bird’s-eye view of the new school in Sangachok
A bird’s-eye view of the new school in Sangachok

Originally, this piece was to commemorate the earthquake that devastated Nepal on April 25th, 2015 and the resulting challenges for Nepalhilfe Beilngries over the past five years. Inevitably, though the corona pandemic and ist effects have since take centre stage. To make matters worse, tourism, on which the country is so focussed, has come to a standstill, and many jobs in Arabian countries have been lost. Both these sources of income and employment have thus been paralysed for an undetermined period of time. Add to this a healthcare system thank ranks at the bottom end of a global table.

In 2017, Nepal invested the equivalent of 45 euros per year into the health of its citizens, providing a population of 28 million with just 5,000 hospital beds, one fortieth of the ratio achieved by Western industrialised countries. The government has designated 25 hospitals for treatment of Covid 19, each being able to accomodate all of five patients. Three oft hem, among them Bir Hospital in Kathmandu, can provide comprehensive care for 20 patients each. Officially, 51 inhabitants had been infected with Corona, and 12 had recovered as of April 26th, but these figures seem doubtful given that government statements give no numbers of tests or deaths.

Strict lockdown – travelling on empty roads

This means the country’s only option is a drastic lockdown that is strictly enforced in the hope of preventing or at least minimising the spread oft he virus. Local partners of Nepalhilfe have been confirming this, having travelled a number of times on special government permit on almost empty roads to carry relief goods to their destination over the past weeks. These included healthcare facilities in Terai, Sindhupalchok District, where many of their schools are ocated, or Siddhi Memorial Hospital in Bhaktapur.

They delivered 3,500 protective masks in assorted qualities, 200 protective suits, 800 litres of disinfectant in various containers and infrared thermometres for a total value of almost 10,000 euros.

The members of Nepalhilfe Beilngries in Germany had spontaneously opted to carry out the relief mission once the local logistics and execution had been established. The mission was also designed as a signal that despite the difficulties in Germany the people of Nepal had not been forgotten.

Shyam Pandit and Sunil Shrestha reported that the relief goods had been greeted with great joy at all destinations, especially given that in some regions, government support had yet to arrive. However, Shrestha forecast things might improve after the government had obtained a large quantity of emergency goods in neighbouring countries.

Images oft he distribution of goods are reminiscent of those taken five years ago in the aftermath oft he earthquake except that then, it was food, tents, plastic tarpaulins and clothing that were distributed to the population as immediate relief.

Revamped schools

A closing view goes to the 14 schools mentioned earlier that had been destroyed or damaged in the quake and their reconstruction. Thanks to the donors‘ generosity, they are now resplendent and can make all involved proud of what has been achieved over these past five years. Regular school activity has now long been ongoing. Currently a three-story building for day care for people with mental and/or physical handicap is being erected in Lubhu. Structural work has been completed, and the building should be commissioned by year’s end the corona pandemic permitting.