Covid19 and Right to Food

In late December 2019 a new (novel) corona virus was identified in China causing severe respiratory disease including pneumonia. It was originally named Novel Corona virus, later popularly known as COVID-19 according to World Health Organization (WHO). At its early stage of evolution, Wuhan city of China was severely affected as high number of cases identified and people started losing their lives, whereas rest of the world was considered safe. Gradually, the virus started spreading in other countries due to unrestricted travel, and thus Europe and then USA get started to affect. Few cases were also identified in South Asian Countries which later on increased the number of cases in India and Nepal as well. As of end of the April, 101 positive cases of COVId-19 registered in Nepal with no loss of human life so far whereas, India has increasing no. of COVID-19 positive cases. Due to the open border with India, Nepal is at risk of possible spread.

In this regard, Government of Nepal has decided to seal its border and declared complete lockdown since 24 March 2020 requesting all people to stay at home as a safety precautions. As a result, outgoing is completely disallowed by Administrations in all over the country shutting down education sectors, industries, markets, gathering in mass. By far now, its more than one and a half month of lockdown and has badly hit its developments in terms of economy, agriculture, education sectors. Low waged daily workers lost their income sources whereas entrepreneurs (small and big) lost their business.

FIAN Nepal supported Government decision of social distancing and lockdown to control possible outbreak of COVID19 pandemic in Nepal. All staff are instructed to stay safe at home and continue regular tasks. However, physical presence such as mass gathering, community capacity development and facilitation to claim their RtF, regular networks meeting and concerned duty bearers as planned were postponed. In spite of the unfavorable situation of easy movement due to lockdown, FIAN Nepal has continued monitoring of RtF situations in collaboration with human rights organizations and media personals keeping safety measures. During the monitoring, our team has visited the most vulnerable communities, quarantine sites and informed the situation to local government in the working areas. The information collected from field of working areas have been regularly updated via series of video conferencing within FIAN Team and made further action plans.

FIAN Nepal initiated responding the pandemic by issuing press release to all concerned stakeholders as well as a public awareness such as Public Service Announcement (PSA) and continuing broadcasting through FM Radio stations all over the country. As of today, FIAN Nepal has implemented series of activities for monitoring the impact of COVID 19 on right to food. (Read More for our activities on COVID 19 situation)

Furthermore, we are in touch with our stakeholders with possible means of communications. The findings of the field monitoring are analyzed from RtF perspective and have been submitting to the concerned governments from local, provincial and center for responsive action to ensure the right to food of vulnerable communities in such critical situations.

The key findings and observations during the field visit are:

  1. People living in quarantine especially the people coming from the India are kept in poor basic facilities such as inadequate food and unorganized basic quarantine services at Indo-Nepal border
  2. Inadequate distributions of relief package at local level due to lack of appropriate identification of the most vulnerable communities/groups. Implementation of Right to Food and Food Sovereignty Act, 2018 has not been appropriately implemented
  3. Delay in identifications of infected COVID 19 people such as tracing, tracking and testing due to in adequate health infrastructure, testing kits, and health safety materials (PPE) etc
  4. Miserable livelihood situation of poor people and daily wage labour due to loss of employment and option less situation
  5. Daily waged labors lost their job and income generation options due to lockdown
  6. Farmers lost access to market for their agriculture productions

Updated on: 16 May 2020

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