Province 2 in Nepal (where we work to assist street children) has been incredibly affected by the new COVID-19 wave and the strict lockdowns. Main source of income for people has been work at factories, fields and other temporary work - all of it had to stop. There is a huge amount of people from the Dalit community (untouchables) and they rely on their daily income. People with no citizenship or other paperwork cannot claim support from the government and have no access to food.
The Indian strain is spreading very quickly in Nepal. There are no beds at the hospitals, no ventilators and no oxygen. The lockdown in Nepal is very strict with people not being able to leave their homes. Families that have been surviving by selling things on the street, temporary or factory workers have no work at the moment. That means no money to support their children. We are supporting the most marginalised communities that are not able to access food or medication.
We are working with the government on our street children and children's protection programmes and can obtain a permit that allows us to distribute food and other essentials to those that are in greatest need. We are able to reach the families that need food or other essentials effectively and in a timely manner due to our close work with the local communities.
We predict that if no help is provided to many of these families, the number of street children (and adults) will increase massively after the lockdown is over as the families will be malnourished and will go into even higher level of poverty. Some experts predict famine in Nepal as well. If we help now, this will ensure the families will stay strong and healthy and hopefully will be able to go back to their jobs when the lockdown is finished.