A second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic is spreading rapidly across Nepal, leaving the country in crisis as the health system teeters at breaking point. The Covid-19 positivity rate in Nepal is currently one of the highest in the world, as 47% of people have tested positive for the virus and more than 4,000 people have now died.
The daily infection rate, which was 300 cases per day last month, has now risen to an astonishing 10,000 cases per day. It is showing no signs of slowing down. Most of the country is now under lockdown, and the Nepalese Prime Minister has called for urgent humanitarian assistance.
Even before the pandemic began, the healthcare system in Nepal was poorly equipped and understaffed. Now it is simply unable to cope with demand, leaving many unable to seek the medical assistance they desperately need. There are no beds left in hospitals and other healthcare facilities, and many are being forced to treat patients in corridors and waiting areas.
Hospitals are now running out of oxygen and other urgent medical supplies, and many have lost their lives as a result. The situation is expected to worsen over the coming weeks and days. There are currently only 600 ventilators operating across the entire country, yet there are predictions that the country will need around 10,000 ventilators by 24 May.
To make matters worse, while Nepal relies on neighbouring India for key medical equipment and supplies, the supply chain has now been greatly impacted as a result of the Covid-19 crisis in India. There are now fears that Nepal will face the same fate as India, as the country struggles to cope.
What we’re doing to help
Islamic Relief is already responding in the rural district of Rautahat, which borders India. So far we have supported more than 1,700 vulnerable families with food vouchers. We are also planning to support those living in other Covid-19 hotspots. We are liaising with district Covid-19 crisis management centre, engaging with UN clusters, government ministries and other humanitarian organisations to help provide urgent assistance.
We are also working towards strengthening the overwhelmed district public healthcare facilities by providing them with lifesaving medical equipment and supplies.
We are preparing to provide additional food support to 2,000 daily wage workers and people recovering from Covid-19 who have been unable to work amid the pandemic and are struggling to feed their families.
Islamic Relief also plan to provide more long-term support to communities in Nepal to help them get back on their feet, as the crisis is expected to deepen poverty and suffering as many more families lose their livelihoods and loved ones.
We urgently need your help to support families struggling amid the Covid-19 pandemic in Nepal and beyond. Please donate to our Global Emergencies Fund to allow us to continue our lifesaving work.