COVID-19 is like a ‘hungry lion’
Raising relief funds for those hurting
Kathmandu streets, normally clogged with traffic, are empty during the current COVID-19 lockdown in Nepal. (Photo by The Kathmandu Post)
By Gary Fallesen, founding president, Climbing For Christ
Nepal is in lockdown with international flights halted, sadly postponing our trip scheduled there on May 11. “Now Kathmandu hospitals are full of infected people and many more (can’t) get in for the treatment,” Kingdom worker Megh Gurung said.
Ministry partner Pastor Tej Rokka said the “virus is now like a roaring lion. I mean a hungry lion.”
COVID-19 is on the prowl across Asia. Turkey is in lockdown. Pakistan goes into lockdown on May 7. India, the current epicenter of the crisis, is locked down. There is even a feared outbreak among climbers on Nepal’s Mount Everest, where at least 17 mountaineers have tested positive.
There is no waking up from this nightmare.
“We are once again under lockdown, not knowing what will happen next,” ministry partner Rohit Mattoo said from northern India. “Church gathering is forbidden. All the income sources are gone. People are losing their jobs. We are praying for the situation to be normal.”
Climbing For Christ has distributed more than $74,000 in COVID-19 relief. The need for more relief is again growing. A Climbing For Christ member has offered to match up to $20,000 in donations to COVID relief!
Please consider giving to this effort. Donate to Climbing For Christ c/o COVID Relief, P.O. Box 16290, Rochester, NY 14616-0290 USA. You can also CLICK HERE to give online via PayPal. In Canada, make cheques payable to The Great Commission Foundation, and on the memo line add Climbing For Christ CANADA c/o COVID Relief. Mail your support to: The Great Commission Foundation, P.O. Box 14006, Abbotsford, BC V2T 0B4. Or CLICK HERE to give online. If you give online email info@ClimbingForChrist.org that your donation is for COVID-19 relief.
Normal is probably many months away. The founder of BioNTech, the German company that helped invent the COVID-19 vaccine, predicted in the Wall Street Journal that the pandemic will last until mid-2022. That’s because vaccines remain sorely lacking in poorer countries.
While nearly 50 percent of North Americans (or 278 million people) have received at least one dose, barely 10 percent of those in South Asia (167 million) have started to get vaccinated. While Americans grow apathetic about getting shots, people in other parts of the world are dying to receive the vaccine.
The Economist reported that the shot heard around the world is reaching these regions the least (in order from the worst): Sub-Saharan Africa, Central Asia, Central America, Oceania, Middle East and North Africa, and South Asia.
Nepal has made an appeal for at least 1.6 million AstraZeneca vaccines to administer second doses to those who, like Megh and Tej, were fortunate enough to receive a first dose. The government also requested oxygen cylinders and ventilators from China.
“Here, some parliament members and some of the former ministers died of COVID,” Megh said. “The former king and queen are also affected. They had been to India almost 20 days ago for the holy bath. That brought (COVID) cases to Nepal.”
Pandemic-related pain and suffering is not limited to Asia. In Peru, it continues to be “a very difficult and complicated situation,” according to Kingdom worker Edwin Milla.
“Last year, there was not much contagion in small towns outside the city. Now there are hundreds of infected, even entire communities.”
COVID-19 has infected Edwin’s family: aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins. “Two of my sisters-in-law are a bit serious,” he said. “I went to seek help at hospitals, clinics, health centers. Unfortunately, all these places are collapsed.
“Many are dying at home. Lucky people find a hospital bed (that) they themselves have to buy. Or (they) rent devices such as an oxygen cylinder, artificial respirator, etc. These are very expensive. It is terrible.”
Edwin has suggested purchasing “small oxygen balloons” to distribute as part of our next relief effort there, if we receive funding.
In India, groceries have been – and will be – delivered. “We are praying for you all that He may bless you for standing with us during our tough times,” said Rohit, who has lost friends to the virus.
In Pakistan, assistance was sent to our ministry partners. Brothers Haseeb and Najeeb have continued serving amidst great difficulty, including the COVID infection of their pastor father and older brother.
In Nepal, many of Megh’s neighbors are battling COVID-19. The roaring lion isn’t going away anytime soon.