The Coronavirus pandemic has had a huge impact on countries across the world, with over 12.9 million cases, and over 571 thousand deaths worldwide. Nepal is no exception and has also faced challenges with the impact of coronavirus. On 24th March Nepal instigated a strict lockdown and this seems to have curbed the spread of the virus effectively, with less than 1,000 cases until 28th May. Today the number of cases has reached over 17,000, a suspected consequence as many migrant workers return home to Nepal from neighbouring India. Despite this, as of today (16th July 2020) there have still been just 39 deaths attributed to Covid-19 across the country, perhaps because the majority of those infected are young males from 15 to 55 years old.
Despite the low number of deaths that have been recorded in Nepal, the threat is still very real and a lack of health resources makes it very worrying for locals. At the Birgunj Children’s home the children have been unable to go to school, and the visitors and volunteers that usually teach them extra skills have been unable to visit. This is affecting their progress dramatically. There is also a psychological effect on the children, who fear their relatives may have coronavirus and that something will happen to them. We’re doing our best to counter this by educating them on coronavirus, and organising regular phone calls with their family.
Perhaps more affected is the Child Help Line, where children usually arrive before going to the home. Due to the risk of infection, we haven’t been able to bring many new children in from the street. While we have a quarantine room, there is only enough space for 2 children which makes this process very slow. Families are losing jobs due to the struggling economy, and they are struggling for daily food. We have also been able to support children in a government quarantine facility by providing them with food deliveries.
While the statistics about Nepal show that it has not been hit as hard as other countries in the region, the threat is still very real and affecting the lives of many every day. It has been a real challenge for our Birgunj Children’s home & the Child Help Line, with a lack of volunteers to help. We hope that things get back to some sort of normal soon and thank you for your support.