Nepal: the fuel crisis continues
Nepalis are struggling through winter as border blocks continue to limit their access to fuel, gas and essential medicines. BMS World Mission occupational therapist Megan Barker explains how the crisis is affecting her rehabilitation work
Months of extremely limited access to essential supplies is taking its toll on the people of Nepal.
Rural communities devastated by April and May’s earthquakes are unable to receive the aid they desperately need and reports suggest that more than three million Nepali children under the age of five are at risk of death and disease this winter due to the severe shortages of fuel, food and medicine.
The crisis is also impacting the work of BMS World Mission workers living in Nepal. Megan Barker heads up the spinal rehabilitation work of Surkhet clinic and the staff and patients there are feeling the strain. They’ve now completely run out of gas and so all the food for the patients is being cooked on wood fires.
“Our staff have made a little kitchen outside and they’re working under a canopy, trying to cook for 30 or 40 people on wood fires,” says Megan. “Obviously the ongoing effect of destroying the local forests is going to be an issue.”
Another major problem for the clinic is the lack of fuel for their vehicle and the now sporadic nature of the buses.
“We can’t go out and make home visits because we have no fuel for the vehicle,” Megan says. “Planning was always difficult, but it is much more difficult now. It just makes everyone very tired, and makes relationships strained because we can’t plan anything sensibly.”
Essential medicines like insulin are also being held back due to the blockades along the Indian border. The small amount of medicine that does get through goes to the big cities, and so the team cannot get it from Pokhara to Surkhet.
“With the lack of fuel and medication, some of our patients are going to be really struggling,” says Megan.
The blockades are having a huge impact on Nepal, in all spheres. Due to a lack of fuel to run their buses, many schools cannot open as normal as children are unable to get there. Small businesses, such as restaurants, are having to close as people don’t have the resources they need to run them. Earthquake-affected families can’t access the supplies they need to rebuild their homes, with thousands living in temporary shelters through the cold winter. And the effect on Nepal’s economy has also been brutal.
With no signs of the informal blockade ending soon, Nepal needs our prayers. People are struggling to get by day-to-day, children are missing out on their education and hospitals cannot get the medicines they need.
“Nepali people are very resilient, and in a way that’s going against them in this because no one is making a fuss,” says Megan. “They are just busy living very hand-to-mouth lives. They’re just surviving.”
Pray for the clinic: that they can get the fuel they need to feed their patients and make their home visits, and that the medicines the patients need will reach them.
Pray for Nepal’s Government: for wisdom to know how to bring the blockade to an end before the situation deteriorates further. The blockades began after groups opposed the country’s new Constitution.
Pray for Nepal’s people: for safety, provision and health, and for the borders to reopen so people can get the supplies they need to live.
This article first appeared on the website of BMS World Mission and is used with permission.