“You don’t hit a man when he is down” is entrenched in the culture and etiquette of every fair fight. However, judging from that, it is all the more sad to see that an ‘unofficial blockade’ seems to be doing just that to Nepal.
Despite the devastation caused by the earthquake in April last year, which was one of the worst human tragedies on record in the Himalayas, killing over 9,000 people, destroying over 500,000 buildings and shaking villages, towns and the capital city to the core — politicians have somehow created barriers at the very time when Nepal needs all the help it can get. However, the worst aspect of this is that much of the world seems to have turned its face away, presumably hoping they will ‘pull through’ with whatever assistance the international community and national government manage to distribute.
The truth is that this has been woefully inadequate and the people are largely, as in the past, left to ‘get on with it’. The question is: how long before the simmering cauldron of disaffection boils over, creating an even greater human tragedy than an earthquake?
An acquaintance based in Nepal wrote: “Things are not going well here. India has created an ‘unofficial’ blockade on borders, stopping pretty much all transportation of goods and cutting off all fuel sources. It’s been three months and it seems like there is no solution in sight. We are slowly running out of everything including medicines, cooking oil and other essential goods.”
The blockade of which he writes began on September 23, 2015 and created an economic and humanitarian crisis that severely affected the country and its economy.
The government of Nepal has accused India of imposing what they say amounts to an undeclared blockade with devastating humanitarian consequences. However, India denied that it is responsible, stating that supply shortages were created by protesters within Nepal.
The Nepalese people do not deserve this and there must be ways in which the international community can step in to recognise the basic rights of the ordinary people of Nepal. Is it too much to hope that common sense can prevail?
— The reader is a British resident based in Dubai