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.
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.
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".
|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
|Sudurpashchim Provinz, Doti und Kanchanpur Distrikt
|Nepal Environment & Education Development Society (NEEDS Nepal)