Nepalese living in Northland are racked with worry as the Covid-19 crisis ravages their home country.
Many of their family members have fled to remote villages to escape the turmoil in Kathmandu, which is in lockdown, and New Zealand charities in Nepal are urging Kiwis to help fund vital oxygen, vaccines and other medical supplies.
Whangārei resident Padam Acharya is worried for his family back home including his father, siblings and in-laws in Pokhara and Kathmandu.
His wife is staying at her parents' house in Lahan in southeastern Nepal while she waits for her visa to New Zealand.
"Everyone is worried about each other at this time," Acharya said.
"With the open border between India and Nepal, people are coming back to Nepal without any proper checking.
"You don't know who is infected and who's not so the community cases are getting bigger and bigger.
"It's hard when you're so far away from family.
"My dad is an old man. It's worrying if something happens, I can't go there."
The manager of Gopals restaurant, Acharya has already lost two friends to Covid in Nepal.
In a conversation with his brother yesterday, "He was telling me a couple of people our family knew in nearby villages have died because of Covid."
The devastating second wave is being blamed on open borders with India, and large religious festivals and events in both countries that have been allowed to go ahead.
The Nepalese government also opened the climbing season this year, issuing a record 408 permits for Everest.
In March, fewer than 100 people a day were being diagnosed in Nepal, but this surged to 1000 daily cases in April.
The current seven-day rolling average is nearly 9000 and the total infection tally is 431,191.
The death toll has reached 4466.
Adventist Development and Relief Agency director Leighton Fletcher, a Kiwi living in Nepal, says Nepal is following the same trajectory as India.
The country was desperate for health equipment like PPE and oxygen, he said.
"Our hospitals are running out; they're on a knife-edge in terms of oxygen supplies.
"I also have concerns about livelihoods and people's inability to earn and support their families during lockdown.
"A lot of people have left the big cities and gone home to their villages. Most will be subsistence farming or whatever they can grow on their land. It's a struggle."
The government imposed a two-week lockdown in Kathmandu on April 26, which has been extended until the end of May.
Acharya said making ends meet was now more difficult.
His brother's business has been forced to close and no one else in the family is earning money.
Grocery shops are only allowed to open between 7am and 9am, "so everyone has to go at the same time so there's no social distancing, there's no safety there. That's when Covid will spread more."
Kerikeri resident Prem Lohar is worried about his family in the far western village of Darchula, located near the Indian border.
Lohar's mum lives there, along with his sister, sister-in-law, and extended family.
Two of his cousins in Kathmandu caught the virus and have recovered. They fled to the village to be safer.
"They're all right but it's getting worse day by day," Lohar said.
"I am very worried, the government has raised their hands and said they can't do anything.
"It's a very poor country and even my family members, they live hand to mouth.
"Now everything is stopped and they have no choice but to go out even though there's Covid.
"It's a vulnerable situation for everybody."
Phuli Sherpa, vice president of Sherpa Society of New Zealand, which has members in Northland, said she was "really concerned" for her family.
Her parents and siblings living in Kathmandu fled to Lukla just before the lockdown.
"Everyone was trying to get there and you can't get tickets quickly.
"That's why I'm not looking at the news because it worries me too much.
"It makes you feel guilty because we're not in lockdown and everything is okay here, and then you see back home. It's getting worse."
Himalayan Trust chairman Peter Hillary said the situation was "very critical".
PPE was desperately needed for hospitals in the Everest region of Solukhumbu, he said.
"It's quite clear the Mount Everest expeditions; the foreign climbers, the Nepalese climbers and porters have spread the disease through this area.
"We know of four people associated with Himalayan Trust who have died as well as more who have been affected.
"It's not just expeditions, it's people returning home through the open border in India.
"We need people to reach out to Nepal to support the fundraising endeavours to help provide protective clothing to medical people in the Everest region.
"There is an expanding crisis in Nepal and India and it's affecting Nepal seriously now and we need to make the best contribution that we can."
How you can help
Himalayan Trust New Zealand www.himalayantrust.org
Adventist Development and Relief Agency: www.adranepal.org
Action for Nepal: www.afnepal.org
Red Cross: www.redcross.org.nz