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Nepal Constitution: Violence & shortages affect our work

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Fuel shortages and political violence following a two-week blockade on the Indian border are making providing aid and charitable support to local communities increasingly difficult for our team in Nepal.

In the southern Terai region, necessities such as medicine are not making their way into Nepal and there is widespread worry about possible food shortages as trucks sit stationary, choking supplies.

 

Birgunj5The recent adoption of a new constitution by Nepal’s Government has led to violence around the country and at least 40 people have been killed in clashes during the past month, while thousands of protesters have blocked the border.

Many border regions have become too violent to work in, preventing help from reaching the area’s most vulnerable, while there are reports of street children being used in clashes with police and others seeking refuge in India.

Street children in Birgunj, where the Our Sansar children’s home is situated, are being used by Madhesi parties to throw stones and attack vehicles.

“We can’t even reach out to them to try and help them due to safety reasons,” Our Sansar director Julia Krepska said.

“People in Raxaul – a town in India on the border – are providing food to the protesters as they are supporting the protests against the constitution, and now many street children from Nepal are going across the border and get fed there.”

The situation has become critical.

Birgunj4“We are still provided with some supplies – we just need to call the shop owners and then they provide us with food – but we don’t know how long this will last for, and the supplies will end at some point,” Julia said.

“We cannot visit our projects easily, children don’t go to school, many shops are closed.”

Strikes and protests have also affected public services and children have been out of school for nearly two months – while around the country, all non-emergency transport has been halted.

“The schools have been now closed for about 50 days, before then they were closed due to the earthquake, then summer holidays – so children in the Birgunj area this year have hardly had any classes,” Julia said.

“Our project manager, Ayush, can’t even refill his motorbike to visit and reach out to children in more remote villages, which is an essential part of our work.”

Nepal is still reeling from a devastating earthquake which killed more than 8,700 people in April and the unrest is now pushing up prices for necessities for those who could least afford them.

Birgunj6“Because of the fuel shortage, people can’t get to work, factories are shut, there is no milk,” Julia said.

The situation in the border towns is also affecting Our Sansar’s work for child survivors of the earthquakes in Dhading.

“We can’t send some of the Dhading children to their families due to the lack of transport – we’re all pretty much stuck where we are,” Julia said.