Oxfam today warned that its humanitarian program in Nepal is just two weeks away from a complete standstill due to the fuel crisis that has severely affected the country. Fuel and essential supplies from India into Nepal have been restricted due to disruptions at the border posts with India. For more than 50 days, the crisis has seen mile-long queues for fuel with hundreds of thousands of people affected.
Cecilia Keizer, Country Director of Oxfam in Nepal said, “Hospitals have run out of essential drugs and supplies, vital social services have been disrupted and aid agencies such as Oxfam have not been able to secure fuel to deliver relief items to prepare people for the winter in earthquake affected districts. If the situation continues, Oxfam’s humanitarian program will come to a complete standstill within two weeks.”
The aid agency has already had to reduce its program to reach people in rural areas, which were some of the hardest hit by the earthquake this year. As winter approaches, temperatures frequently drop below zero in mountainous areas; Oxfam has been planning to deliver winter kits to the most vulnerable people including thermal mats, blankets, hot water bottles and cash vouchers for winter clothing.
Keizer added: “With construction materials also limited, Oxfam’s work on water supply schemes and household latrines have also been affected. We are deeply worried that this crisis will become a humanitarian emergency if it is not resolved soon.”
This year Nepal has suffered a significant tragedy with the earthquake and is trying to recover and reconstruct. The fuel crisis is desperate and with winter around the corner, the humanitarian impact could be devastating. The governments of Nepal and India must work to bring the disruption of fuel supply and other commodities across the India-Nepal border to an immediate end.
Notes to the editor
1. Nepal is reliant on shipments from India for all of its fuel. Due to the disruptions at the border, there has been a shortage of essential supplies. Price of vital construction materials has also increased.
2. A 7.6 magnitude earthquake struck Nepal on 25 April 2015, killing almost 9,000 people and affecting a further eight million people - a third of the population. A second 7.3 magnitude earthquake occurred on 12 May. Both earthquakes destroyed 605,254 houses and damaged a further 288,255.
3. Oxfam has reached more than 445,000 people affected by the earthquake in seven of the worst-affected districts: Lalitpur, Bhaktapur, Kathmandu, Sindhupalchok, Dhading, Gorkha and Nuwakot. Oxfam has distributed 55,000 emergency shelter kits, 50,000 hygiene kits and installed almost 8,000 toilets. It has also supported 10,000 households with food and 30,000 farmers with rice seeds to ensure they did not miss the planting season.