18 May 2022

'I live in fear' - Midlands man on the horror of Nepal's current Covid surge

'I live in fear' - Midlands man on the horror of Nepal's current Covid surge

Offaly native Jonathan Clarke with his wife, Dr Kisu Rawal, and their daughters Ada and Eva

An Offaly man living in Kathmandu, Nepal, has spoken of the horror unfolding there as the country grapples with a deadly surge in Covid-19 cases and fatalities.

Kilcormac native Jonathan Clarke now calls Kathmandu home as he lives and works there in the shadows of the Himalayas. The South Asian country is facing a monumental battle with Covid-19 as hospitals struggle and oxygen supplies, PPE and vaccines run short.

Having first visited Nepal in 2007 and relocated there in 2015, Jonathan has said the country is now fully "in the midst of an ongoing humanitarian crisis."

"Nepal needs more than our sentimentality, thoughts and prayers. Nepal needs the international community to take immediate action. Nepal has asked for help at all levels. Every country that can should and must respond," he added.

"Ireland and other countries responded quickly to India’s request for oxygen, ventilators, PPE, and other Covid-related essential medical equipment. I am proud of the support offered by our government and Irish aid organisations to India," Jonathan continued.

"And now, Nepal needs this too now before the situation is too late. We have the power to avert the humanitarian crisis that can overwhelm Nepal if we do nothing."

Nepal's daily case numbers now surpass 9,000 with a positivity rate of 65% in some rural areas as the virus ravages through villages and families.

PICTURED: People wait for vaccines at Alka hospital with no social distancing taking place PIC: Jonathan Clarke

Hospitals are running short on supplies with people crowded outside in need of assistance. Oxygen supplies are low.

"On the ground, I constantly hear the ambulance sirens, knowing they will be too late for many," Jonathan, whose daughters were born during Covid times, explained.

"I live in fear for my family, for my wife who is working on the frontline as a doctor at a national hospital dressed in full PPE every day. For my elderly relatives diagnosed with Covid who, with laboured breaths, are struggling to find oxygen cylinders, who have been refused a bed at the hospital because there are none available. For those out of work, daily wage workers who care much more about starvation than about being unable to afford even a single night at the local private hospitals," he continued. 

"There is a fear in the country that was not here for the first wave. Many I speak to have experienced a death in their family in recent weeks; the situation is getting worse. 214 bodies were cremated last night [Monday], staff at Pashupati are at their breaking point working day and night.

"Every day more and more Nepali people are dying. If you are an average person like me, sign a petition, write to your government, and call a politician. Tell them Nepal needs the international community's support right now. They need urgent life-saving assistance, vaccines, diagnostic tools, oxygen kits, critical care medicines, and equipment sent from Ireland to Nepal," Jonathan concluded. 

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