In April 2015, Nepal suffered a devastating earthquake which claimed the lives of close to 9,000 people.
Now Nepal faces a much larger humanitarian crisis due to the ‘unofficial’ blockade between Nepal and India. The blockade is linked to the protest by an ethnic group, the Madhesis, who want greater representation in the Nepalese parliament.
With the border closed, supplies of petrol and cooking gas that usually come from India to Nepal have been greatly impacted. Many businesses have had to close their doors and there are huge queues to get the limited amount of gas needed for cooking. The Government is selling firewood for cooking purposes in Kathmandu which means more deforestation and greater pollution.
World Jewish Relief has been working in Nepal since the earthquake. Our support is now concentrated on helping people to rebuild their lives, particularly through the receipt of assistance and training in agricultural businesses and inputs and reaching markets, creating higher incomes for individual households.
However, if this crisis continues it will prevent people getting products to market and negatively impact incomes, as farmers will only be able to use local markets. This will greatly hit the Nepali economy and could mean devastation far beyond the earthquake.
Talks are ongoing between the government and Madhesis and hopefully the border will be able to be opened soon but no negotiated settlement has been reached yet.