A Nepali border district dependent on China faces severe food shortages

Humla, a northernmost Nepali district along the China border, has been facing severe food shortages as the district has mostly relied on supplies from China, which has not opened its border since the pandemic began in early 2020

Nov 27, 2021
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A Nepali border district dependent on China faces severe food shortages

Humla, a northernmost Nepali district along the China border, has been facing severe food shortages as the district has mostly relied on supplies from China, which has not opened its border since the pandemic began in early 2020. 

“Only the flag comes from Nepal, the rest from China,” Amish Mulmi, a Nepali researcher and columnist, described the reliance of the Limi valley, part of the district, on China. The valley bordering China shares deep cultural and linguistic similarities with the Tibet region.

Prior to the pandemic, residents of Humla had been granted wide-ranging concessions from China.

From access to the Chinese market within 30 km from the border to the permission to avail health and work permit, China had allowed all these rights to the people of the district, considering the geographical proximity. There were little signs of the presence of the Napali state. 

However, things changed with the pandemic. People, who for generations had been dependent on China for their survival, suddenly found the border closed. From food to health services, everything came to halt. 

Representatives of the districts recently came to Kathmandu, the capital, describing the problems--the shortage of food on the top of them-- caused by the strict border closure, reported The Kathmandu Post. Heavy snow this time has also disrupted the efforts to bring some relief to populations. 

The situation is even dire in Limi valley. A report in The Kathmandu Post said people in the valley were on the brink of starvation--a claim denied by The chief district officer who, however, admitted food shortages. 

On Friday, three private organizations, including the Kantipur Media Group, the country’s leading media house, airlifted rice bags to the district. The government has now also decided to rope in the Nepali Army to airlift the supplies as roads remain blocked due to heavy snow. 

Recently, the government had also opened a hospital in the district. 
(SAM) 

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