Nepal’s migrant workers in West Asia, who were left largely to fend for themselves by their government when the pandemic hit last year, have come to the rescue of their homeland which is being ravaged by a fierce second wave.
Nepali migrant workers in the Gulf region collectively raised money to rush 560 oxygen cylinders which arrived in Kathmandu on Saturday evening on a Nepal Airlines flight from Muscat.
Nepal’s hospitals have run out of beds and medical oxygen as the total active cases in the country reached 110,000. On Saturday, 8,167 new cases were recorded, and there were 187 deaths. Many patients are dying while waiting for oxygen. Nearly 8,000 people are undergoing treatment in various hospitals across the country with 1,331 of them in ICU and 370 in ventilator support.
Overseas Nepalis have rushed to raise money and provide material support for the beleaguered healthcare system back home. Saturday’s shipment of cylinders was part of an effort led by the Non-Resident Nepalese Association (NRNA) Oman on behalf of the NRNA Middle East and supported by Nepal’s Ambassador to Oman Sarmila Parajuli Dhakal. The Nepal government covered the flight cost.
The total cost to buy the cylinders and send it to Nepal was $64,000. So far, 187 individuals and organisations have raised close to $12,500 with donations ranging from $3-$1,300 in Oman. Another $28,618 has been raised with contributions from over 50 migrant groups, Nepali businesses and individuals in Qatar.
“This is part of an NRNA campaign in the Middle East, under the slogan ‘Send oxygen to Nepal and save lives of our relatives’. We recently initiated the effort and expect to raise more funds in the coming days,” says Qatar-based Nepali Kareem Baksh Miya.