Nepal | August 10, 2020

Nepalis in China make frantic pleas to return home

Say there is lack of drinking water and shortage of food, including vegetables, in their hostel

Sabitri Dhakal
Share Now:

Kathmandu, February 7

Nepalis living in the Chinese province of Hubei, the epicentre of novel coronavirus outbreak, have started making frantic requests to the government to evacuate them at the earliest, as more and more people are dying or getting infected by the disease in China.

The government formally initiated the process of evacuating its citizens from China last week when Nepali Embassy in Beijing called on Nepalis living in Hubei to submit applications if they wished to return home. On Sunday 180 students, including three children, had filed applications. But since then the government has not done much to evacuate them, while the condition of Nepalis in China is worsening.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Pradeep Gyawali (centre) and Minister of Health Bhanubhakta Dhakal (right) handing over a box of surgical masks to Chinese Ambassador to Nepal Hou Yanqi, in Kathmandu, on Friday, February 7, 2020. Photo: THT

“We are now forced to use tap water because there is lack of drinking water in the hostel. There is also shortage of food, including vegetables. And the college has been providing same type of food for days and it doesn’t taste good,” said Dr Gaurab Pokhrel, a PhD candidate at Tongji Medical Hospital, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology.

Worse, students like Pokhrel have been confined to their rooms for days while students of many other countries have already been evacuated. “Life has come to a halt,” said Pokhrel, who a few days ago had told THT that he did not want to return to Nepal. “And all the while the number of coronavirus cases is rising. We don’t know till when we can save ourselves,” he added.

The Embassy of Nepal in China also confirmed that many students in China were facing mental stress. “Those who were behaving normally earlier and were counselling others too are panicking,” said Sushil Lamsal, deputy chief of mission, Embassy of Nepal in China.

The guardians of Nepali students in China today visited Minister of Foreign Affairs Pradeep Gyawali and requested him to confirm the evacuation date. But the minister could not make any commitment. He only said the work was in process, according to a ministry source.

“If the state cannot evacuate us then it should clearly say so,” said Pokhrel, adding, “This is an emergency situation and the government should work swiftly in the crisis situation.”

Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli yesterday directed the line agencies to bring Nepalis back from China and quarantine them at four places in Kathmandu valley — Shivapuri, Surya Binayak, Ichangu Narayan and Kharipati.

“So far, the location to quarantine China returnees has not been finalised,” said Mahendra Shrestha, spokesperson for the Ministry of Health and Population, who passed the buck on evacuation of Nepalis to the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation.

“It is the civil aviation ministry’s job to bring back Nepalis. The health ministry will only look into the health of Nepalis returning from China,” said Shrestha.

According to sources, Nepal has not been able to bring its citizens back from China as the government is yet to meet the World Health Organisation’s standard on evacuation.

“The evacuation process has been delayed because most of the infrastructure is still not in place,” said a source.

Health experts have been saying that there should be a proper place to quarantine China returnees. Also, there should be isolation wards in hospitals and health workers should be available round the clock.

“We need to adhere to international standards before evacuating our people. It will take a few more days. We also need to train crew members who will bring back our people,” the source said.

The novel coronavirus has killed at least 636 in China and one each in Hong Kong and the Philippines. At least 25 countries have confirmed cases of coronavirus.


A version of this article appears in print on February 08, 2020 of The Himalayan Times.

Follow The Himalayan Times on Twitter and Facebook

Recommended Stories:

More from The Himalayan Times:

Transitional Justice, court, justice, punishment, law

Judiciary: Public should maintain restraint on comments about court order/verdicts

We should not forget that it is the court that upholds justice, protect people's rights. Had the judiciary not been there, whatever the two powerful organs of the state — executive and legislature — wanted to happen, could happen. It is the judiciary that checks the excesses of the executive and Read More...

Messi helps Barca sink Napoli to reach last eight

Barcelona beat Italians 3-1 for 4-2 aggregate win Messi scores and earns penalty at empty Nou Camp Barca face Bayern in Champions League last eight BARCELONA: A fired-up Lionel Messi led Barcelona to a 3-1 win at home to Napoli on Saturday for a 4-2 aggregate victory which took the Read More...

Lewandowski dazzles as Bayern crush Chelsea to reach last eight

MUNICH: Robert Lewandowski struck twice and set up two more goals as Bayern Munich cruised past Chelsea 4-1 on Saturday to reach the Champions League quarter-finals with a 7-1 aggregate victory and remain on course for a treble of titles. The Bavarians will be on an 18-game winning streak acr Read More...

PM Oli tells Madi delegation to Build Ram's idol and promote Ayodhyapuri as his place of birth

Kathmandu, August 8 At a time when the entire country is concerned about the sharp rise in coronavirus cases, Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli is trying to convince everybody that Lord Ram’s birth place is in Ayodhyapuri, area of Madi Municipality, Chitwan. The PM, who had made a phone call to W Read More...

Activist Iih to end hunger strike today

Kathmandu, August 8 Youth activist Iih, initiator of ‘Enough is Enough’ campaign, is set to end his 21- day hunger strike tomorrow, as the government has agreed to meet the demands of the satyagrahis. Iih has been staging the fast-unto-death strike demanding government’s effective role i Read More...

Maintain essential health services during COVID-19 response: WHO

KATHMANDU, AUGUST 8 World Health Organisation has urged member countries, including Nepal, in the South-East Asia Region to accelerate resumption of disrupted health-care services, hit by the pandemic, as an integral part of the COVID-19 response. “The pandemic has put immense strain on heal Read More...


Young woman dies for want of treatment

BIRGUNJ, AUGUST 8 Bishnu Lama, 22, of Chhapakaiya, Birgunj-2, died for want of treatment in Birgunj this morning. Various hospitals, including Birgunj-based Narayani Hospital had refused to admit Lama, who had experienced breathing complications. She was taken to Corona Special Hospital, Ganda Read More...

Swab sample collected from communities

DHANGADHI, AUGUST 8 Swab samples have been collected to diagnose whether the virus has spread in the community level of the Sudurpaschim Province. The provincial government has started collecting swab samples from communities as the province is at a high risk of infection. Director at Sudur Read More...