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Present situation of Indo-Nepal border blockade

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14 January 2016

Since Nepal adopted a new constitution over three months ago, the landlocked nation has been suffering an ongoing humanitarian crisis.

A major reason for the disaster is an unofficial blockade imposed by the Indian government and supported by the ethnic Madhesis in the south of the country who have protested against the government and certain provisions of the new constitution.

About 70 percent of imports from India flow through the major blocked border point and many travel to India through the border to work and to trade.

The imports of petroleum, medicines and earthquake relief material have been choked.

A country of 28 million people is running under half capacity. Hospitals, restaurants, and public transportation have been facing difficulties. This is giving rise to an underground economy which brings increased insecurity and will be hard to tame in the long-term.

Impacts of crisis

The Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI) Nepal says that the strikes, blockades and protests have cost the economy more than earthquake damages.

The earthquakes of April and May resulted in losses of over $7bn - but Nepalese economists are now saying that the blockade is going to inflict over $17bn losses on the economy. 

According to UNICEF, more than three million children under the age of five are at risk of death or disease during Nepal's harsh winter months, because of a severe shortage of fuel, food, medicines and vaccines.

More than 20,000 big and small industries were closed in the country in recent months due to the unofficial border blockade imposed by India.

The economic collapse due to disastrous earthquake hasn’t properly settled in our minds yet, and we have suffered another huge economic disaster due to ongoing strike and blockade in the nation’s southern region. It is certain that Nepal’s economic growth will see negative figures this year, and the suffering by Nepalese citizens is incomparable this year.

The latest update is positive and the situation is starting to improve with some border points returning to normal, allowing cargo and trucks to enter Nepal from India. The Nepalese people are hopeful to see all blocked borders open as soon as possible.

Ongoing talks between the Madhesis and Nepal’s major political parties leave hope of a resolution to the internal political tensions and end to the blockade.

A United Response

The Nepalese Christian community are sitting down together in prayer for change to the national situation. We call the global Christian community to join us in praying for poor and oppressed people - Godwill listen to our united prayer.

I would like to thank the global Christian community and Micah family for their powerful prayer for Nepal. Micah members of many countries have developed a letter and sent it to Indian embassies to raise their concern about the border blockade. Please continue to raise awareness and speak out about this injustice which is bringing greatest harm to Nepalese citizens.

Thir Koirala
National Coordinator
Micah Nepal