China seals border, villages on Nepali side face starvation

Sankhuwasabha, June 3:

Starvation looms large in the northern parts of Sankhuwasabha district after China closed the Kimathanka check post two weeks ago. The situation is unlikely to change until the conclusion of the 29th Summer Olympics, which China is hosting in Beijing from August 8.

Cops at Kimathanka police post said Chinese officials had informed Nepali officials about the closure of the border until the conclusion of Beijing Olympics on August 24.

The police said China sealed the border with different countries as part of the security measure for the Olympic Games. For the last 14 days, nationals of both Nepal and China have not been allowed to enter into each others’ territory. Sub-inspector at the border police post Lok Bahadur Thapa said even Nepali border police officials were prohibited from entering China.

The Kimathanka police had sent letters to the district administration office and district police office to take initiatives to reopen the border. But the attempts for the same have not materialised so far. As a result, residents of five VDCs in the northern parts of the districts have been suffering, acting CDO Krishna Prasad Subedi said. He said the DAO had urged the Home Ministry to take the initiative in this regard.

A local of Kimathanka, Tenchhebi Bhote, said people in Chepuwa, Makalu, Hatiya and Pawakhola VDCs, who rely on supply of food grains and other consumables from China’s Riyu and Dendang, are now suffering from food shortage. According to him, all crops in the villages were damaged by hailstone and snowfall and the villagers had already been facing starvation after the closure of the Chinese border.

The situation might go out of hand if the government failed to take immediate alternative measures to supply food to the region, he said. The sealed border is located 180 km north of the district headquarters Khandbari. It takes 14 days for the people of the area to reach the district headquarters on foot.

Acting CDO Subedi said afew rice packets were sent to the area 45 days ago but they were yet to reach the area.