Christian leaders in India and Nepal are dying of Covid-19 at such a rate that scores of Christian ministries are in danger of closing because there is no one to lead them. Black fungus now poses an additional deadly threat in India.
Both India and Nepal have lost many of their church leaders to the Covid-19 pandemic, leaving their sick, frightened and hungry congregations without pastoral care.
In addition, at least 40 ministries in India are in danger of closing down, simply because their leaders have died and there is no one able to replace them.
On 2 June some of Barnabas Fund’s Indian project partners reported that well over 2,000 pastors and other Christian leaders had already died in India.
A Christian leader in Nepal told Barnabas Fund on 26 May, “We are losing many pastors and leaders – even this morning we lost two pastors. Situation is very, very bad right now. More than 150 pastors and leaders are in hospital, isolating and Covid-19 positive. Many poor Christians have no food to eat. We have already experienced starvation.”
A highly infectious strain of Covid-19 has overwhelmed India, producing “a health and economic crisis of unprecedented proportions”, in the words of an Indian Christian doctor who wrote to Barnabas Fund.
Many recovering Covid-19 patients in India have been infected by the “black fungus” which maims or kills many of its victims. The situation in neighbouring Nepal is even worse, because the health infrastructure there was weaker than in India to start with.
The Christian population of India is estimated to be approaching 4% and in Nepal approaching 5%.