Nepal: easing of the lockdown gives way to a violent monsoon

While the health situation is slightly improving and the lockdown is easing a little, Nepal is facing violent floods at the beginning of the monsoon. Between patience and determination, we are adapting our activities.

Maya Verbist, PE&D’s Nepal Director, gives us an update on the situation:
“The health situation seems to be improving, the hospitals are less overwhelmed. At least that’s what we see in Kathmandu and the other big cities, but it’s difficult to have a realistic view of what’s happening in the remote villages. People are still reluctant to be tested for fear of being stigmatised, so the lockdown has just been eased. Private vehicles are allowed to drive on the streets according to the odd-even rule and so-called non-essential shops are re-opened on certain days and at certain times. These new rules are in force until 28 June. However, inter-district travel is still prohibited and schools are still closed. With the floods and the gathering of affected people in safe places, in tents or schools, we fear that Covid is gaining ground again. “

Indeed, for the past few days, Nepal has been facing violent floods. Mohan, the director of our partner Child Nepal, testifies in pictures of the devastation caused by the waters in Melamchi (north east of Kathmandu). While his family is safe, many others had to be relocated in temporary tents and schools.

On the activities side, we are adapting to these situations. We have decided to repeat the virtual classroom scheme launched at the end of last year in Kathmandu.

The only positive point is that the pupils of the Maternelle de l’Espoir seem to be just as motivated in view of the information and videos we receive. 20 of the 30 children enrolled attend each virtual class, and we are thinking of opening a second class if the number of enrolments increases. On the other hand, despite our desire to extend the scheme to children from the town’s public schools, this is proving complicated because families lack access to the internet.

Finally, concerning the new Chepang Hostel, which allows 30 young girls from this isolated community to continue their studies in the city, work is slowly resuming because the builders can once again move around the region. Unfortunately, we have no idea when the schools will reopen in the country and therefore when we will be able to welcome the girls in the hostel.

We would like to say that the hardest part is behind us, but it is still too early to say…

23 June 2021