Nepal currently has very high rates of people who are tested positive, sick and died. The area in Upper Dolpo, in which our school projects are running, has been largely spared so far. For about two weeks now, there has been an increase in the number of cases of illness, some of them severe, with a few deaths. In some villages, 70-80% of families are sick, in other villages it is less. The situation is unclear as there are no test facilities, but also hardly any medical care, although some elderly people have been vaccinated once. At the moment there is no / hardly any vaccine, neither from China nor from India. A corona-related shortage of food in many families will be a major problem in the future.
The reason for this is that due to closed borders (Corona), no trade with Tibet / China was possible either last year or this year. As a result, important foods such as rice, oil and flour could not be exchanged.
Due to the many diseases in the families, the harvest will also be less this year because the fields cannot be completely processed. One of the few sources of income for the Dolpa-pa (that’s the name of the residents there) also ceased this year and last: the harvest of the Yartsa Gunbu fungus. The harvest was banned by the government due to corona risk. The government has delivered rice to some areas, but people are supposed to pay for it. Quite a few families would have to take out a loan without knowing how to repay this loan.
What exactly are we doing to help people?
In order to improve both basic medical care for serious cases and nutrition for the coming winter 2021/2022, we have decided to start an immediate aid program. A list of emergency medicine has been made and the medicines will be shipped as quickly as possible. In cooperation with our project partner Dolpo Tulku Rinpoche, we as the HUMAN Foundation will carry out an aid supply. On May 22nd, by a lucky coincidence, we were able to send important medical equipment to the three small health posts in Upper Dolpo in a helicopter that has just flown out a seriously ill person. There is a health post for several villages that is supposed to provide emergency medical care, but is mostly poorly equipped. In addition, a list is currently being made of which food is necessary for which villages and families. We buy this food and then send it to the villages in Upper Dolpo with a mule transport.
From a medical point of view, we can only help to a limited extent, as the people live too high and far away in the mountains and cannot simply “go to the doctor” (the villages are at an altitude of 4,000 meters). We sincerely hope that most of the residents can cope with this difficult situation with some support from the medical aid delivery. It would be particularly tragic, however, if people then have too little food to strengthen themselves and to be able to survive the coming winter reasonably well. We all want the people in need in Upper Dolpo to be able to cope with this difficult phase with our support.
We do not want to let our friends and the children of our schools down in the Himalayas now.