On the 25h April last year, a massive and devastating earthquake hit Central Nepal killing 9,000 people and then again, on 12th May, another earthquake shook the nation. Many homes, schools, hospitals and electricity supplies were destroyed instantly. With the majority of the Nepalese nation living rurally, the earthquake closed off many routes into the capital, Kathmandu.
The world responded. The United Kingdom donated $7.6 million in aid, America $9 million, Australian $3.9 million and many other countries and charities donated medical teams, food supplies, temporary shelter and rescue teams.
Nepal is classed as one of the world’s poorest countries, ranked 157 out of 187 listed in the United Nations Development Programme’s Human Development report. There are still 81,000 households in need of durable shelter before the harsh winter sets in. Yet months down the line Nepal still faces another major crisis
For the last few months, Nepal’s boarders with India have been blocked by the Indian authorities. The Indian government deny this. However, they have virtually chocked the imports of petroleum, fuel, medicines and earthquake relief material. It seems Nepal is experiencing déjà vu. A country of 28 million people has yet again been ground to a halt. Schools are closing, hospitals are turning away patients, public transported is limited, industries are forced to shut down and the tourism is minimal.
The great concern is that the hardships brought about by the fuel crisis will eclipse even the terrible devastation caused by the earthquakes.
The nation has recently witnessed violent and extreme protesting which claimed the lives of 50 people and saw 7 policemen lynched by angry protesters. This volatile situation reflects not just the India-Nepal diplomatic issue but also the internal political stalemate between the Nepalese Government and the Madhes.
Knots Rugs produce the majority of our rugs in Kathmandu, Nepal, working with Label Step, an organisation founded in 1995, committed to improving the working and living conditions of carpet weavers in many countries such as Afghanistan, India, Iran, Morocco Nepal and Turkey. Label Step fights child labour and promotes environmentally friendly and fair production methods. Our representative gave us this update on the 19/11/15.
“Presently more than 2200 industries in Nepal are closed because of the fuel shortage. Cooking gas and other essential commodities are running short in the market. The price of basic food commodities has gone up. The estimated economic loss from this blockade is over the USD 7 billion since the April earthquake. Carpet weavers are not able to travel back to Kathmandu easily. Transportation of wool and raw materials is on hold at the border, which has in turn affected carpet production. In the weaving units in Kathmandu, we see approximately half of the weavers have not returned to Kathmandu after the holidays.
On behalf of all industries, the main private sector representation of Nepal- FNCCI (Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industries) - has already met with the PM and other leaders and demanded a resolution to this problem. The European Union and UN office in Nepal have also pressured the Nepali government to find a solution. They have said that this could lead to a humanitarian crisis.
For more information on this complex issue please follow the links below.