13 May Coronavirus pandemic: INF/UK statement
This is a statement issued by INF/UK on Wednesday 12th May 2020, about the coronavirus pandemic in Nepal and how we and our Nepali partners are seeking to respond.
CORONAVIRUS IN NEPAL
As the global coronavirus pandemic continues to grow, no country is immune from the challenges it brings.
While the world focuses on countries with high numbers of Covid-19 infections and deaths, the deepest cut for many of the world’s poorest people is coming from the economic impact of lockdown, rather than coronavirus itself. Nepal is no exception.
Weeks and weeks of lockdown in Nepal has led to the poorest people going hungry. Low-income workers who rely on money from daily wage labour to feed their family that day lost their livelihoods overnight, leaving them unable to provide for their families. Rising food prices have exacerbated the situation for those who were already struggling.
For those suffering additional disadvantages, such as disability, cast or gender discrimination, the effects of lockdown are magnified. Gender violence is increasing. Being low cast has always pushed you to the end of the queue.
While coronavirus has been slow to impact Nepal, cases are starting to rise quickly. If contagion cannot be controlled the county’s healthcare infrastructure will be overwhelmed. Intensive care beds in hospitals are already fully utilised. A spike in Covid-19 cases will push hospitals and the health system over the edge.
OUTLOOK FOR NEPAL
Even without high numbers of cases and deaths, the coronavirus pandemic is hitting Nepal hard – a significant economic and humanitarian crisis has already started. Tourism income has fallen off a cliff and international aid is likely to decline. Remittances will drop as many Nepalis who worked abroad to send money back home are returning or likely to face reduced migration options. This will result in a double whammy of a substantial loss of income for families in Nepal, and a rise in unemployment. This has already prompted an emergency loan from the International Monetary Fund.
With this year’s monsoon season still to come, we’re well aware that flooding, landslides or other natural disasters pose an even greater risk while the country is still battling against the threat of Covid-19.
Despite the gloomy outlook, here at INF/UK we remain fully committed to playing a part in God’s story of hope for the people of Nepal. It remains our mission to see life in all its fullness for the poor and disadvantaged people of Nepal.
INF/UK AND OUR PARTNERS IN NEPAL
We are so grateful for our amazingly prayerful, faithful and generous supporters. INF/UK is well managed and, with your support, we are confident of being able to continue serving the people of Nepal.
First and foremost, we will continue working closely with our valued partners, offering whatever financial and prayerful support we can provide.
Some of the programmes we are supporting are having to adapt to meet emerging needs, especially the community resilience and development projects in remote districts of Bajura and Kalikot.
These community programmes may not be the primary focus right now, but they will be even more important than ever before in helping Nepal recover from this crisis, ensuring more people can create sustainable livelihoods in a country which is resilient to the issues it will continue to face.
INF Nepal’s hospitals are also playing their part as the country responds to coronavirus. At the Government of Nepal’s request, INF has refitted its Green Pastures Hospital as a quarantine centre, ready for a surge in demand from critically ill Covid-19 patients. Specific wards will be kept in readiness for the foreseeable future.
Beyond the pandemic, INF’s healthcare programmes will continue to play a key role in the treatment and rehabilitation of Nepalis, especially those on the margins of society due to disability, exclusion or poverty.
Over the course of history INF has never shied away from helping the poorest in Nepal when they need it most, and we will continue walking with them through the months and years ahead.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
PRAY: Sign up to our monthly Prayer Notes, and visit www.inf.org.uk/covid19 to find out about online prayer meetings
GIVE: If you’re in a position to donate, please give online or call 0121 472 2425.
Stand with the people of Nepal through this global crisis
Thank you so much for your fantastic support for INF and the people of Nepal, both financially and in prayer. At this time of great uncertainty your continuing dedication and commitment is needed and appreciated even more.
Together, we can ensure INF continues to serve Nepalis long after this pandemic has passed.