Double-trouble in Nepal

After two massive earthquakes in Nepal, killing more than 8000 people and affecting more that 200,000 families. Nepal is facing acute shortages of fuel, cooking gas, medicines and other supplies because of a two-month long blockade of the main border crossings with India by people demanding greater representation in the Himalayan nation’s new constitution.

India, Nepal’s neighbor on three sides accounts for more than 60% of Nepal’s foreign trade and most of that happens through Birgunj checkpoint which has been blocked by  protesters from the Madhesi communities since Sept.24. Nepal, a landlocked country that shares a frontier with China to the north,  depends entirely on India for fuel and most of its food and medicinal supplies.

The border town of Birgunj is home to Nepal’s largest customs office in terms of revenue that handles almost two-thirds of Nepal’s trade with India. Some traffic at other border crossings has been moving in places with less confrontation between police and protesters, but until the blockade at Birgunj is lifted, supply of critical materials is unlikely to improve.

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