The Covid-19 pandemic hit Nepal much later than the rest of the world, and now the country is being battered by a surge of positive cases. Hospitals are running out of beds for the seriously sick.
The crisis comes even as the country was hit by the worst monsoon-related lanlslides and floods in recent years that have killed more thna 200 people.
To augment the Nepal’s government’s efforts, the United Nations in Nepal and the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) have put their resources together to support its Covid-19 response and disaster preparedness.
The partnership aims to provide essential support with Covid-19 contact tracing, health screening, telemedicine, and personal protective equipment for frontline healthcare workers. The agencies also seek to support over 35,000 children and pregnant and lactating women to prevent malnutrition as well as ensure continued sexual and reproductive health services, psychosocial support to survivors of gender based violence, and water and sanitation in health and quarantine facilities.
As of 22 August, Nepal has a total of 31,117 confirmed Covid-19 cases with 146 fatalities. Likewise, floods and landslides triggered by the monsoon rain have so far killed 241 people with 88 missing.
“This is a welcome step towards the commitments made by members states, including by Nepal to deliver collective responses to the national needs and priorities by bringing the UN system together,” said Valerie Julliand, United Nations Resident Coordinator in Kathmandu. “As the UK joins forces with the UN, together we are working on responding to the crisis and also addressing the inequalities and vulnerabilities in social, political and economic systems in Nepal.”
Beyond supporting Nepal government’s response to both Covid-19 and monsoon-related crises the UN is also working to develop national and local disaster management capacity through its cluster co-leadership role. The world body said it is committed to jointly plan and prepare for emergency response in Nepal this year and beyond.
The UK will provide financial and technical support to tackle Covid-19 outbreak and scale up the UN’s ability to prepare effectively for future emergencies.
The UK also endorsed the role of the UN Resident Coordinator to take a lead in planning emergency preparedness and response on behalf of the international community with the government of Nepal. This includes humanitarian advisory capacity, coordination, data analysis and a common service for accountability to affected populations.
Lisa Honan, Country Director for DFID Nepal said, “Nepal has suffered a great deal because of natural hazards including the coronavirus. We are confident that our support to the UN will help improve the response to the pandemic in Nepal as well as improve preparedness for future natural hazards.”