03/21/2012, 00.00
NEPAL
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Nepal, poverty and unemployment push thousands of people to suicide

by Kalpit Parajuli
The cases have increased by 31% since 2010. The average is 4 thousand suicides a year. In Bara, an unemployed mother with severe economic difficulties kills herself and her children.

Kathmandu (AsiaNews) - Cases of suicides and homicides associated with poverty have increased by 31% in Nepal according to a police report linked to the dramatic political and economic crisis experienced by the country last year. With an unemployment rate of 46% and an average income per capita of 1,300 U.S. dollars per year, Nepal is one of the poorest states in the world. According to World Bank data, about 55% of the population lives below the poverty line.

Due to political instability and high rates of corruption, the situation gets worse from year to year. For many people the only choice is that of migration and to date there are over 7 million Nepalese working abroad. The state budget depends for about 40% on remittances from migrants. However, those who can not find work at home or abroad, are increasingly choosing the dramatic path of suicide. The cases registered by the authorities are about 4 thousand a year, with an average of 11 deaths per day. The phenomenon is growing and affects young people between 14 and 30 years, especially single mothers.

These days, people were shocked by the case of Ramia Chaudhari, a young woman of 25 who could not pay school fees for her two children and so chose to kill herself and her children. The family lived in Amab (Bara district), a village that is run by development committees. Police said her husband's salary was not enough and she was looking for work for several months, but without success. Rita Chaudhary, Ramia's neighbor, said that she was afraid that her children remain without food, so she decided not to enroll her eldest son in school, to save the 1.3 dollars per month in fees. Her despair increased when the women of the village council has asked all families to ensure the education of school children. Not being able to pay, the woman committed suicide.

Similar cases have occurred in past years. In February 2010 an entire family in Rukum committed suicide because the parents could not pay for the medical care of their 27 year old daughter suffering from epilepsy. In July, a mother in Rautahat burdened with debts convinced his three children of 5, 9 and 11 years to jump from a bridge with her.

The purpose of the committees for the development of the village is to organize the population, under a partnership between the community and the public sector, to improve services and avoid corruption. Each village is divided into various local councils and is led by a village chief elected with at least 80% of the votes. In smaller villages the whole population participates in the management of services particularly those of water supply, basic health, sanitation. Local councils are also responsible for monitoring and record the economic progress of the village.

 

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