In addition to India, its neighbouring countries are also reporting new peaks in coronavirus infections every day. In Nepal, the number has risen rapidly. Malteser International – the Order of Malta’s worldwide relief agency, warns: “Last weekend alone, almost half of all coronavirus tests were positive. We have a situation in Nepal like the one we observed in India about a fortnight ago. We see the virus spreading from one country to neighbouring countries. It will only be days before the images we see of people dying on the streets also reach us from Nepal. We have to act quickly now to prevent the next disaster,” says Cordula Wasser, Head of the Asia Department of Malteser International.
Malteser International is expanding its emergency response in India and preparing support for pandemic response in Nepal. In the north-western state of Rajasthan in India, hospitals are being equipped with oxygen and protective equipment, nurses are informing people about the ways the virus is spread and how vaccinations work against it. In Nepal, Malteser International’s local partners are informing the population about protective measures against infection. Psychological support for people is also being expanded.
“First and foremost, we must now ensure that we save as many lives as possible. But in addition to the life-saving measures, we must not lose sight of the psychological burden on people. Many people in Nepal have already seen family members die from Covid-19. At the same time, people do not know how to feed their families and have been completely impoverished by the restrictions. We must not forget these burdens either” says Wasser.
Malteser International has been supporting the people in India since 2010 and in Nepal since the severe earthquake that hit the country in 2015.