Nepal in chaos, people dying in the streets and Americans stuck. PHOTO COURTESY OF PETER SCHMIEDING

Local dentist stuck in Nepal

Peter Schmieding describes a grim Nepal as it descends into chaos similar to a “science fiction pandemic movie.”

Big Sky dentist Peter Schmieding is currently stuck in Nepal from when he traveled to work for the nonprofit he co-founded – Tsering’s Fund. There are currently no hospital systems, there is no oxygen anymore and people are dying in the streets.

He explained that the new Indian variant that is raging through Asia is hurting young people and the infection rate charts are going straight up. Even despite a pandemic the healthcare system limps along, he noted.

“On a good day it’s bad, on a bad day it’s horrible, he said. “The last week, things have melted down, total lockdown, the army controls the streets. You will be arrested if you go outside except for the two hours you are allowed out to buy food, outside of that it is like a science fiction pandemic movie.”

He took PPE from the U.S. to Nepal and he and his vaccinated daughter, Lhakpa, “are guarding my unvaccinated daughter, Maya, like the secret service and keeping her as safe as we can.”

The hospital tells the families they have to go find their own oxygen for their family members, but there is no oxygen to find, he explained.

On May 9, Peter wrote, “My daughters and I continue to stay safe through day 5 of our Covid lockdown in Kathmandu but things continue to deteriorate in this Covid weary country. I find the quote from the Ministry of Health the most chilling. . . ‘We give up.’ Pray for Nepal . . .”

While the Covid crisis and lockdown has been immense, Schmieding still finds optimism in the projects he and his daughters have been able to work on. They have initiated a program to feed street dogs who are going hungry due to the lockdown.

As of May 19, Schmeiding is hoping to return on a May 26 relief flight. He looks forward to returning to his Ennis and Big Sky patients.

The picture remains grim for Nepal.

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