Nepal blockade doubles desperation

By December 7, 2015
Nepal protests India blockade

Nepal (MNN) — An end to India’s two-month blockade of Nepal appeared to be in sight at the end of last week.

Nepal protests India blockade

(Photo credit: S Pakhrin via Flickr)

According to The Indian Panorama, Nepalese and Indian dignitaries met in New Delhi, India to discuss the blockade and corresponding humanitarian crisis.

Meanwhile, government officials back in Nepal reportedly reached a political agreement with protesting Madhesi parties.

See what started the blockade back in September.

Nonetheless, dire humanitarian needs remain as the political resolution unfolds. According to UNICEF, India’s blockade and fast-approaching winter months are putting over three million children at-risk.

“The situation over there in Nepal is worse than what happened in the first earthquake,” shares *Suren, Vision Beyond Borders‘ contact in Nepal. “The government’s saying to the public, ‘Do not stay in the line anymore because you will not get the petrol.'”

Wikipedia_gas cylinders Nepal blockade

Line of gas cylinder at Kathmandu
(Wikipedia)

In Nepal, fuel is used for cooking, as well as transportation. One of Suren’s ministry friends spent five days and nights waiting in line, only to receive five liters (approximately 1.3 gallons) of gasoline.

“There is no food, no transportation, and it has affected every lifeā€¦in Nepal. And, obviously, it is affecting ministry as well.”

With transportation and other vital resources on lock-down, life in Kathmandu has come to a virtual standstill. Along with it, the translation work of Suren and his ministry team.

“Our work is to record the Gospel in all the languages and dialects of Nepal,” he explains. “[Because of the blockade] we can’t really move around, [and] our people cannot come to us. It’s like we are being paralyzed.”

And yet, there are a couple of “silver linings” to the blockade crisis.

Blockade helps evangelism

The first advantage: government eyes cannot be in all places at all times.

Nepal’s government is “really against” Christianity, Suren explains, even though the country’s new constitution is secular. However, few officials are monitoring evangelical Christian activity right now because their attention is consumed by the blockade.

(Photo courtesy VBB)

(Photo courtesy VBB)

Suren’s ministry and its partners are taking advantage of the open door. “As much as we can, we are trying to send the Gospel to the people. It has been quite an opportunity for us to witness to the people.”

In recent days, 3,000 microchip SD cards carrying heart-language Gospel materials were sent to contacts in a remote village.

“They can do that now, because the government has no time to think about what Christian activities are going on within the country,” says Suren.

“Life is hard, but ministry-wise it’s been a good opportunity. When you go with a message of hope, people are more receptive.”

What you can do about the blockade

With so many world events competing for attention, please don’t forget about Nepal.

(Graphic courtesy Vision Beyond Borders)

(Graphic courtesy Vision Beyond Borders)

“The world is not even thinking about this because [they see it as] a political problem between two countries,” Suren explains.

“Pray that the people of Nepal may not starve to death. We need to really pray for the political situation between Nepal and India, so that this problem may [be] resolved as soon as possible.”

Support Suren and his ministry through Vision Beyond Borders.

* name changed for security reasons

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