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Coronavirus prevention in the Nepal-India border region

A vast movement of Nepalese labour migrants returning to their home country was triggered by the outbreak of the COVID 19 pandemic in India. Tens of thousands of people set out with their belongings on a long journey with an uncertain outcome; partly by bus, partly by bicycle or on foot.

To protect arriving migrants from corona, we distribute protective masks at border crossings and set up hand washing stations (Photo: AWO International/Needs/Nepal)
To protect arriving migrants from corona, we distribute protective masks at border crossings and set up hand washing stations (Photo: AWO International/Needs/Nepal)

About 70 percent of all households in the Sudurpashchim province, in the westernmost part of Nepal, are impacted by (seasonal) labor migration to India. Due to the present corona pandemic, however, most of the migrant workers lost their jobs. Several thousand migrants returned to their villages every day immediately after the bus and train connections in India were put back into operation. But before they could return to their home villages, they were obligated to stay in quarantine.

Only few check points and/or health posts are available along the open “green” border area. Public buildings such as schools had been converted into quarantine centres, but they lack beds, toilets, masks, disinfectants and protective equipment. The centres are also too small to accommodate the large influx of returnees. There is also a lack of hand washing facilities. In addition to the risk of an infection with COVID-19,  people in the quarantines and villages are at additional risk of contracting dengue fever or other infections during the monsoon season. 

What we do to help

Our team is on site with the Nepalese partner organisation Nepal Environment & Education Development Society, NEEDS Nepal, to support four communities in Sudurpashchim in their fight against the Corona pandemic. In cooperation with the local government, we are distributing protective equipment and materials for the staff of quarantine and health facilities, border crossings and two migration information centres, mainly disinfectants, protective masks and gloves as well as soap. Arriving migrants are given masks at both formal and informal border crossings and can wash and disinfect their hands. In addition, we are setting up a total of 50 hand washing stations in quarantine facilities and public places in the communities and are also equipping the quarantine stations with mosquito nets. 

An important part of the project: Educational work

In order to make returning migrants and residents of the communities aware of the dangers of Covid-19 infection, the project mobilises local newspapers and radio stations with wide coverage. In this way, messages on improved hygiene practices and other preventive measures can reach the largest possible number of people. Prakash Chandra Madai, the programme manager of our partner NEEDS, remains optimistic: "Providing emergency aid is not easy because of the risk of transmission. But our team managed to safely deliver the materials to four communities in Kanchanpur and Doti districts. Here, we are laying a building block for the fight against Covid-19".


Project Emergency relief and preparation for Covid-19 and monsoon-related diseases for returning Nepalese migrants and host communities in Doti and Kanchanpur districts, Sudurpashim province, Nepal
Place/Region Sudurpashchim Provinz, Doti und Kanchanpur Distrikt
Partner Nepal Environment & Education Development Society (NEEDS Nepal)
Target group 18.281 people
  • Distribution of hygiene materials and equipment for quarantine stations and health facilities: 20,000 protective masks, plus disinfectants, hand washing soaps, protective gloves, waste garbage cans and mosquito nets, beds (including sheets for changing) and toilet cleaners
  • Provision of 2,500 protective masks at the migration information centers, as well as disinfectants and soap
  • Establishment of 50 hand washing stations in the quarantine centers and communities
  • COVID-19 awareness-raising initiatives: publication of cases/news in local/national newspapers to inform and sensitize the public, development and broadcasting of COVID educational jingles & radio programs with messages on hygiene and preventive measures
  • Advocacy to local government agencies for disaster recovery plans and budgeting
Duration 2020
Budget 17.900 Euro
Sponsor ADH

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