Months have passed since the coronavirus pandemic started and as expected, more and more cases have been diagnosed in Nepal too. As of today, there are 18,500 cases but as can be noted, the testing rate is low. But if we go by official figures, thankfully the active cases and deaths are declining.
The summer is here, and in Nepal midway through the year is the height of the summer monsoon, which means plenty of rainfall, for hours a day, followed by humidity of around 90%, the air sticky and hot. The monsoon rain is not like normal summer showers most people take shelter from under an umbrella, it means A LOT of rain, and unless you’ve experienced it it’s really hard to imagine just how much is coming down. Or how scary it can be. Actually, you could imagine turning on a high pressure shower, coming from the sky. The average precipitation in Nepal for July is around 30cm, but some regions get twice that, of water pouring down and flooding the streets, gardens, fields, bursting river banks and causing landslides. The constant heavy rain causes a lot of destruction, especially to roads, many which are not the best quality in the first place. About 2,5 weeks ago, 48 hours of continuous rain led to several landslides across the country. As awful as it sounds, the land actually just slides, some happened in areas of Pokhara very familiar to us. Houses were left buried, and tragically 12 people were killed, some were missing and many seriously injured. 5 people died along the mountain side of Sarangkot, 2 little boys were from the school where our friend Krishna from Alliance Nepal is a teacher, and also where we have been supporting families with food, clothes, and construction of a house. All caused by the combination of heavy rains and a badly constructed road, as well as houses unable to resist impact from this kind of natural disaster, just like most houses that just crumbled during the earthquake. It’s frightening to think how many times we have driven, sat on a motorbike or walked up and down those specific roads, and to imagine that suddenly the road below you collapses and slides down the mountain side taking concrete, mud, trees and debris along. Of course, it’s even worse being below, that’s just unimaginable. It was very sad to hear that within one family, 2 sisters, Pinki (aged 21) and Ahsa (aged 14) lost both their parents as their house was crushed. The girls, as well as the daughter of Pinki were severely injured with broken legs, bones and facial injuries. Thankfully, for now, they have received support to cover the cost of their hospital treatment. The physical recovery will take at least 8 weeks, but the emotional trauma no doubt much longer, and the girls no longer have a home. Pinki’s husband left (perhaps married someone else) and although they have an uncle, he is old and has health problems, and there are already lots of kids in his family, with little space and money for food. He also lost his grand-daughter that same night in the landslide. There isn’t really anybody else they could live with, and we would like to help them find somewhere, and to pay their rent, which would cost about $20 per month, as well as some money for food, while they haven’t got their own crops, and perhaps buy them a couple of hens. We already have some money left in our fund which we will send Krishna to help them start off, once they’ve found somewhere and are back on their feet, but if anybody else would like to contribute, it would be hugely appreciated. As always, we realise, they are just a 3 people out of millions who need help in Nepal, especially now with the devastating impact on livelihoods due to the pandemic, which also increases the risk of people turning to dangerous and desperate measures to survive. But we have to do what little we can, where we can, where our support actually makes a huge difference to individuals, just by enabling them to start off, to have the basics. A home, food and clothes, to be able stay warm and safe.
The corona-situation is still very fluid all over the world and although lockdown was eased a few days ago in Nepal, it is still uncertain times. Nobody knows what will happen next. And god knows how many people no longer even have a job to return to anyway. It will take a long time for people to recover from the financial crisis, as well as for children to catch up with their school work. We hope the schools will open again soon and that tourists, prioritising safety obviously, can start to visit the country again. Including us. And if anybody else is interested in voluntary work, teaching or just helping out, please get in touch. No need to make immediate decisions but if it’s something you may have thought about, we can share our experiences with you and maybe one day you will join us.