Lockdown. Week 8. Nepal.

There are 600 families in the Kathmandu Valley that didn't go hungry over the past week.

May 26, 2020, 1:36 p.m.

I struggle at times to find the words that will convey the seriousness of a problem that, for most of us, doesn't touch us directly. After all, Nepal is a small country -- about the size of Tennessee. It is far away. We don't see the pain. We don't feel it. We've got problems of our own. But they are nothing like what the average person in Nepal is dealing with. Some of our partners are sending us pictures that I hope to share in the next few days. But they likely won't convey the urgency or the desperation.

It's a tough scene. And, if the tens of millions who have been locked down for the last eight weeks could explain it to you, maybe it would help. But they can't speak to you directly. So I try to do so for them.

First of all, if they were here, I know that they would thank each and everyone of you who has donated recently. You have made such a difference.

There are 600 families in the Kathmandu Valley that didn't go hungry over the past week. There are 200 families in Biratnagar who will get through another ten days with food to offer their children. And this week, with our partners at Nepal Rising (and thanks to your support), we have transferred another $15,000 dollars to the Center for Molecular Dynamics which is working on COVID-19 surveillance, on identifying and protecting the most vulnerable, on training first responders in the use of PPE, and so much more.

All told, since the crisis began, your support has allowed us and our partners (including America Nepal Medical Foundation), to put almost $75,000 into critically needed support activities. And $30,000 of that came from you. Our committed and caring donors. So thank you. It matters. Hugely.

We’re only just getting started, however. Things are getting more challenging by the day. The lockdown continues. Incomes are lost. Jobs are gone. No clear end is in sight. International flights continue to be suspended. The Kathmandu Valley and the seat of national government has been sealed off. People need proof being COVID-free just to enter the valley but not even 1% of the nation has had access to testing.

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Meanwhile, cases continue to rise. There are over 600 cases now…1000 are expected within days and the Ministry of health projects that 2000 cases will be right behind. 43 of the nation's 75 districts have now been affected. Everyday there are new worries and now the deaths have begun. Families are desperate.

We want to respond. We want to continue to have an impact. But to do so we have to replenish our own funds first. Fortunately, the 10% of you who have responded with incredible generosity and compassion have helped to sustain us. But now, as the people of Nepal worry about what comes next — about what the future holds -- we not only need your continued support but we urgently need our other colleagues to match your commitment.

Our immediate concern is to feed more families in need. The good news in that regard is that feeding a family for a week to ten days only costs $15! It's a hell of a dlal given food prices here in the US -- but it's a lot of money for the average locked-down Nepali.

The not so good news is that if we're going to feed 600 families we need $9000. That's $9000 more we have to raise. And, beyond this, we need to replicate what CMD is doing in Thimi. More families will need help in the weeks ahead. Abd migrant workers now back in Nepal and facing frighteningly uncertain futures will need a helping hand with livelihood training and creating opportunities. It is all possible. If we have your help.

Those of you who have already acted know that when you give, you offer hope. You are that beacon of light in a dark and difficult time You matter. But there's still a long way to go. As things are becoming more desperate by the day we are still $17,400 away from our $20,000 goal. The need and the urgency continue to outpace our ability to respond -- unless we have you.

I've said it before; I know giving is tough right now. I know some folks are particularly hard hit. But I also know we have to keep trying. We have to make a difference.

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Those of you who give are keeping hope alive through your kindness and support. You are lifesavers for those families suffering under the lockdown and you are leading the way as we create a COVID-19 response model that will be critical in the days ahead. If you haven’t donated yet, I can’t think of a better time to start.

You too can save lives. You too can make a difference that matters. You too can Engage Nepal.

I hope you’ll join us. I hope you’ll care.

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Scott DeLisi

US Ambassador (ret), Executive Director Engage Nepal

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