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UN: Millions of children put at risk due to Nepal Blockade

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01 December, 2015: Shortages of fuel, food, medicines and vaccines are putting more than three million infants at risk of death or disease as winter begins in Nepal, the UN children’s fund (Unicef) has warned.

For more than two months of political unrest in the south of the country, the situation has been worsened. The blockade has severely hit the import of key goods from India. The blockade is led by ethnic communities angered by Nepal’s recently promulgated new constitution.

According to Madhesi communities, the new constitution does not represent them properly.

The Nepalese government accuses India for deliberately worsening the scenario, but India denies on this. While Nepal was still recovering from powerful earthquakes earlier this year, the blockage is being enforced, worsening the situation of the country.

Unicef says that the supplies of vaccines and antibiotics in the country are now critically low – and the fear is that children could be the worst hit.More than 200,000 families affected by the earthquakes are still living in temporary shelters at an altitude above 1,500m (4,920 ft) where weather conditions will be harshest this winter.

Unicef Executive Director Anthony Lake said that,”The risks of hypothermia and malnutrition, and the shortfall in life-saving medicines and vaccines, could be a potentially deadly combination for children this winter.”

Other fears that is rising is the dependence on firewood – triggered by the fuel crisis – is increasing indoor pollution, which in turn could lead to a rise in pneumonia cases.

Around 60% of Nepal’s medicine is imported from India, along with large amounts of fuel, food and other supplies. The blockade along the border with India began in September.

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