How private individuals are doing their bit amid coronavirus pandemic

Published On: March 27, 2020 07:05 AM NPT By: Aditi Baral

KATHMANDU, March 27: While the trepidation of COVID-19 has already forced several businesses to shut, compelling people to spend their savings to buy essentials, some businesses and even ordinary people are offering a helping hand to the needy at the time of the global pandemic.

After the lockdown started, several videos and stories started circulating on the social media showing how the well-offs as well as many ordinary people are helping the indigent who are unable to tackle the situation.

Till Thursday evening, Republica has found various stories including landlords exempting monthly rents, people providing houses for quarantining COVID-19 cases and restaurants offering free foods to tourists – all showing individuals offering support to the needy and also to the government in every way possible.

A few days back, a video posted by a news website that circulated across social media platforms showed how a restaurateur in Pokhara, Dorje Lama, has been providing free food to foreigners stuck in the area.

Lama and his staff were motivated to take such initiative as they saw some foreigners wandering clueless on the streets. "It's a way of showing compassion to the needy ones," he said, adding, "Our small initiative can be of great help to those in difficulty."

Lama mentioned that they feed around 15 foreigners per day and half of them are in a serious need of food and even money.

Respecting the government's guidelines during the lockdown, they open the service for only two hours a day.

Bishwambhar Ghimire, who was the program coordinator at the Visit Nepal Year 2020 Secretariat, has announced that the government can set up a quarantine facility at his house. “It is the duty of the citizens to help their nation in each and every possible way in these difficult times,” Ghimire said.

Likewise, Lal Chandra Gautam and Bandana Paudel, a couple from Bhainsepati, have also decided to provide their vacant house at Kuleshwar to anyone willing to use it as a quarantine facility.

An individual, Chirag Goyal has also announced to provide his unoccupied house at Sifal in Kathmandu for use as a quarantine facility.

Both of them announced this through their individual Facebook accounts where they have mentioned that they're taking this initiative realizing that they should help the government in the time of crisis. “I know Nepal government cannot afford to build new hospitals overnight, so if the government or any non-profit organization wants to convert the house into a temporary hospital, I will provide it for free. We are even ready to bear the cost of the utility bills,” Gautam's post read.

Such instances don't stop here as a social worker from Syangja, Bijay Bikram Rana, has decided to provide his personal vehicle for use as ambulance to transport patients suspected of coronavirus infection.

Another individual, Devendra Khadka from Lalitpur, has also announced through Facebook that he would provide his house to those who want to use it for self-isolation and quarantine. Yubraj Poudel from Morang has also made available his recently-built 5-story house with 40 rooms to the government.

All these individual initiatives have a single objective – to help the needy and the government in the time of a crisis.

Various rural municipalities across the nation have also taken generous steps to help the government fight the spread of the pandemic.

Lukla Rural Municipality in Solukhumbu has made arrangements for food and shelter for 137 foreigners who are stuck in the area.

According to the rural municipality chairperson Ang Phurba Sherpa, his office in collaboration with the local chapter of the Hotel Association Nepal worked together to provide shelter to the tourists in 41 different hotels and lodges in Lukla.

Employees at Tarakhola Rural Municipality of Baglung have announced to contribute 10 percent of their one month's salary to the government-formed Coronavirus Infection Prevention, Control and Treatment Fund.

As per the decision of the High-Level Coordination Committee for the Prevention and Control of COVID-19, the government has already established a 'COVID-19 Prevention, Control and Treatment Fund' for prevention, control and treatment of the virus. The amount thus collected will be deposited every week to the account number 196000001101 of the fund established by the Government of Nepal at Rastriya Banijya Bank.

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