Prolonged Blockade of Nepal’s Border Leads to Serious Fuel and Medicine Shortages;...

Prolonged Blockade of Nepal’s Border Leads to Serious Fuel and Medicine Shortages; Protesters Blame India for Blockade

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DSC_6262It is a daily occurrence in Nepal to see long lines of people waiting in front of a gas station. It’s not because there’s been a rapid increase in the number of people who desire to purchase oil, but because the oil supply has drastically decreased. Some ethnic minorities claim that the newly adopted constitution excludes them from political rights, and they are blocking a major trading checkpoint between Nepal and India, cutting off vital supplies including fuel to the country. Nepal is still reeling from the massive earthquake in April, and winter is just around the corner. In this situation, if the border blockade continues, it will inevitably strike a blow to the whole nation. For over two months Nepal has been crippled by the fuel crisis, which started around October.

As the supply routes for basic necessities such as food, oil and medicine are blocked, many people in Nepal are voicing their complaints out loud. According to an ABC News report, Nepali police detained about 50 activists protesting in front of the Indian Embassy on December 10 (hereinafter “local time”). The activists strongly blamed India, asking for an end to a month-long blockade of supplies from India. They demanded India to stop the border blockade, calling it a “crime against humanity.”

The political conflict in Nepal has intensified and is affecting the whole country. In particular, fuel shortages are becoming more apparent, but medicine shortages are also very serious. According to a report released on December 10 by the Wall Street Journal, relief workers in Nepal said they were deeply concerned about the worsening shortages of medical supplies in the areas affected by the massive earthquake. UN organizations, including WHO, declared in the second week of December that essential medical supplies in Nepal’s hospitals and other health facilities had been reduced by nearly half. The UN warned that this could cause children with weak immune systems to become the victims.

Correspondent Kim Jeom-Ki[kjk@newshankuk.com]