COVID-19 in Nepal

It might seem odd to discuss a problem with COVID-19 in Nepal, at the time of writing they have only 48 recorded cases from a population of about 28 million but the effects of the virus are critical to their economy.

At Karianne’s Secret we have very close ties with Nepal well over half of our products are sourced there. Our main supplier is based in Kathmandu and is not only a personal friend of our CEO Karen Abouzar but also runs a factory producing cashmere clothing including scarves, shawls and ponchos.

Nepal’s textile industry relies almost exclusively on export sales and these have been severely hit by a lack of orders due to the virus. In addition companies in the Europe and North America are cancelling orders already placed so there is an added problem of stock that cannot be moved on.

As a result of these pressures virtually all of factories producing cashmere have been closed leaving the workforce unemployed.

A large proportion of the workforce in Nepal is employed in two industries namely textile manufacture and tourism. Textiles represent about 32% of the country’s exports and tourism is one of the main sources of income with over 1.5 million visitors per year. The Nepalese are a very friendly and welcoming people and Nepal is home to many heritage sites it is also one of the safest countries in the world to visit so it is no wonder that so many tourists go there.

These two industries employ well over 2 million people and virtually all of them will now be unemployed. There are many more people employed in the supply chain so the effect on the economy will be devastating.

In a country which is still recovering from the huge earthquake of April 2015 which killed thousands of people, flattened villages and reduced numerous heritage sites to ruin the effects of the COVID-19 virus is a body blow.

We are rightly concerned about the effects of the virus on the developed world but we at least have safety nets for the unemployed. Nepal relies heavily on foreign aid already and the unemployed get very little assistance

There were several earthquake appeals which raised over £100 million, this Appeal is specifically for COVID-19 please donate generously to help this incredible country.


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