The United States has warned Nepal is on the cusp of a full-blown humanitarian crisis as the landlocked country’s supply routes remain locked by India.
The fear expressed by the US Embassy in Kathmandu has been voiced before by both local and international media but this is by far the most direct reference the global superpower has made to the escalating crisis in South Asia.
The continued blockade of supply of daily essentials (fuel most importantly) by India has seriously affected the relationship between the two countries that share age-old cultural and religious similarities. However, the current relation between the two is no better than the one that exists between India and Pakistan.
“The United States is deeply concerned by the increasingly volatile situation along the Nepal-India border, resulting in critical shortages of fuel, medicine, and foodstuffs, including in areas still reeling from the devastating earthquakes of April and May,” a press statement issued by the US mission warned on November 5.
Without referring to the disruption of supplies (imports into Nepal via India) as a ‘blockade’, the US Embassy said the Terai saga has seriously affected the already vulnerable April and May earthquake survivors – an apprehension expressed weeks earlier by the UN representative in Nepal.
A 7.8 magnitude earthquake can break the backs of the most robust of economies but Nepal is just a Third World nation with limited healthcare facilities and infrastructure. It does not take a economics Nobel Laureate to appreciate the gravity created by these recent developments. It is only natural that the country will reel into a dangerous humanitarian crisis should the Nepalese people continue to face the blockade.
“Lives are at stake, and we are concerned that a humanitarian crisis may result,” the US expressed concern, “Everyone should contribute to creating positive conditions for meaningful political dialogue to ensure that the constitution accommodates the aspirations of all Nepalis.”
The US has assured the people of Nepal that it is with them as they continue to rebuild from the recent earthquakes as well as build on the political achievements made in recent months and years.
As Nepal is rumoured to be leading a concerted effort to internationalise the menace of blockade, it seems the world community is already doing the job for the Nepalese government which has so far failed to term the supply crisis as a ‘blockade’.