COVID-19 Relief for Nepal

by JAKE NORTON

June 2021
Nepal is facing a slow-motion earthquake with the second wave of Covid. Please join me in helping prevent the spread of infection and get critical medical supplies to those in need with this $7,500 match.
A young girl gazes into the camera in Bhaktapur, Kathmandy Valley, Nepal.

Dear Subscribers, Supporters, Friends,

It's been some time since I've written - life's been busy with a move, the Virtual Mount Everest which is live to the summit, and much rumination and consternation in my head about the ongoing and devastating Covid crisis in Nepal.

I'm working to write more in the weeks to come, but that last part - the Covid crisis - is my focus today.

Six years ago, Nepal was reeling from the devastation of the 2015 earthquakes, houses toppled, villages wiped out, transport routes broken, and some 9,000 people killed. It was a monumental disaster, and one which the global community rose to and helped with greatly.

Today, a new, slow-motion earthquake – in the form of a second wave of Covid-19 – is rumbling across the countryside of Nepal, shaking the foundations of the nation, and this one seems destined to be far deeper, deadlier, and more costly than that of 2015. While the international press has understandably been focused on the story in India, little attention has been paid to Nepal, aside from headline-grabbing stories about the virus hitting Mount Everest.

Sadly, the situation is dire: Nepal’s nearly 30 million souls face infection rates 70% higher than those of India, death rates 79% higher, and a vaccine rate 37% lower than their southern neighbor. (See data in this article from The New Humanitarian.) And, those are official numbers; with daily test rates returning consistently at 40%, it seems the real numbers may be far, far worse.

Put simply, Nepal needs our help.

An elderly man outside a temple in Dattatreya Square, Bhaktapur, Nepal.

Currently, there are two main silos where need is highest: transmission prevention, and medical treatment. On the former, the rural areas of Nepal must be equipped to prevent the rampant transmission of Covid. With medical care nearly non-existent throughout much of rural Nepal, there is simply no viable treatment option for severe infection; the only way forward is to prevent the spread of the disease. To that end, I am partnering with dZi Foundation (which serves five rural municipalities and  over 40,000 people) to help them provide critical PPE for their communities, deliver essential medical supplies and educational PSAs to villages, and – perhaps most importantly – continue their vital “Cash for Work” program, which provides income for the most vulnerable families in exchange for labor in public works projects that benefit the entire community. (Labor is done with proper Covid-19 safety protocols in place.) I am setting up a $5,000 USD match for all donations made in the next month. In other words, if you give $50.00, I’ll match it, making it $100.00 for Covid prevention and Cash for Work projects, up to $5,000.00, for a total of $10,000.00 to dZi. Please join me and let’s help prevent the spread of Covid-19 in rural Nepal!

On the second critical need – immediate medical treatment – I am setting up a similar match of $2,500.00 for Nepal Rising. A volunteer collective of dedicated NGOs and organizations in Nepal working on the ground to procure and distribute vital medical items in the hardest hit areas, Nepal Rising has done and is doing a fantastic job getting to people and places largely left behind. Please join me and let's help offer immediate medical relief to those suffering in Nepal! (Nepal Rising is a registered DBA for Daayitwa US, a 501(c)(3) non-profit, and donations are tax-deductible.)

Thank you in advance for helping reach those in need in Nepal.

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