KATHMANDU, Feb 2: A section of civil society in Nepal has launched a campaign to send face masks to various parts of China to fight the novel coronavirus outbreak.
Kathmandu-based Society of Sino-Nepalese Himalayan Studies (SSNHS), a private organization working to promote Sino-Nepal ties, has taken the initiative. The organization aims to collect and dispatch at least 500,000 face masks within a month to China, according to its representatives.
Nepali Congress (NC) leader and former Deputy Prime Minister Sujata Koirala handed over some masks to SSNHS chairman Yee Liang in Kathmandu on Friday.
As part of its campaign, the organization has already sent 20,000 masks to China's Sichuan Province, while it is sending 100,000 masks to Beijing in the next two days. The remaining masks will be sent to different cities of Sichuan Province including Chengdu, Leshan and Meishan.
Presenting the masks to the Chinese representative, leader Koirala, who is also the chairman of the GP Koirala Foundation, opined that all the countries need to join hands together to fight the coronavirus epidemic.
"At this hour of crisis in China, we people from Nepal would like to wish Chinese people and the government success in their rigorous efforts to contain the virus," Koirala said.
Appreciating the role of Chinese doctors and nurses, who are working round-the-clock to save lives across China, Koirala shared that she is amazed to see the Chinese people standing together for the nation.
"We all are aware that China underwent through similar struggles in the past. I am confident that it will be successful in winning this battle too," Koirala, who is also a former foreign minister, said.
According to Yee Liang, who has been involved in various social works in Nepal since the last 6 years, it is the right time to show love and respect to each other.
"No matter the country is big or small, it needs help from the neighbors during difficult times. A friend in need is a friend indeed," Liang said.
The SSNHS informed that they are buying masks from different companies, worth Rs 2.5 million, and will import masks from India, if necessary.
There is a scarcity of masks in the Chinese market, as it has been regarded as the foremost and basic medium to prevent infections, the organization said.
Rajan Adhikari, coordinator of the organization, said China helped us immensely in search, rescue and relief efforts during the earthquake in 2015. "This time, we are trying to help China as per our capacity. I am hopeful that it will help boost our friendship," he said.
Over 200 people have already lost their lives while around 10,000 have been infected in different countries due to the novel coronavirus, which has been declared a global health emergency by the World Health Organization.