COVID-19 lockdown: Nepalese migrant worker dies just metres away from his home

Hom Bahadur Rana Magar, a carpenter,  was returning from Chitwan to Dhading on foot

By Raman Paudel
Last Updated: Saturday 18 April 2020
Nepalese migrant workers rest as they travel on foot to interior Nepal due to the COVID-19 lockdown. Photo: Dambar Chemjong

A Nepalese migrant worker, who was returning to his hometown in the interiors of Nepal in the wake of the lockdown over the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), has died.

Thirty-eight-year-old Hom Bahadur Rana Magar was a native of Jwalamukhi rural municipality in central Nepal’s Dhading district. He had been working as a carpenter in Chitwan district’s Madhavpur town for the past few years.

He lived in Madhavpur with his wife, a son and two daughters, according to relatives.

Magar died on the night of April 15, 2020, at around 9 pm, while trying to crawl over the railing of the Budhigandaki river, his nephew, Kamal Rana, said.

The bridge links the Jwalamukhi rural municipality of Dhading with Sahid Lakhan rural municipality in Gorkha district. The railing of the bridge is being used as a barrier to prevent the flow of people from coming in.

Magar had been very hungry and fearful of COVID-19 since the past few days, according to Rana.

Magar waited until night to cross the bridge although he had arrived a few hours earlier, Krishna Prasad Kapri, chairman of Ward No 5 Jwalamukhi rural municipality, said.

He had sent his family to Jwalamukhi village a few days before the Nepal government imposed a lockdown due to COVID-19.

When he lost the job and daily life in the city became difficult, he left for his village on foot, according to Rana.

Thousands of migrant workers, including students, have been returning to their villages in interior Nepal on foot amid the COVID-19 lockdown since the last few weeks. Some of them are walking distances of around 800 km.

Nepalese Prime Minister KP Oli said on April 17 that migrant workers must be provided with food, essentials and transport.

The Nepalese government had decided to lift the lockdown for two days a week ago for the sake of long-distance travellers. However, it canceled its decision a few hours later and imposed a harsher lockdown.

Around two million people have already left the capital, Kathmandu, due to lack of food and daily essentials.

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