WFP to feed 50,000 flood victims in Eastern Terai

Published on 27 August 2008

WFP in Nepal announced today it was mobilizing emergency food assistance for 50,000 people displaced by floods in the eastern Terai districts of Nepal.

WFP in Nepal announced it was mobilizing emergency food assistance for 50,000 people displaced by floods in the eastern Terai districts of Nepal.

We were able to quickly get food moving to thousands of displaced families affected by these devastating floods

Richard Ragan, WFP Country Representative in Nepal

The emergency operation is in response to a Government of Nepal request after monsoon rains caused an embankment of the Saptakoshi River to collapse, flooding thousands of hectares of land and forcing an estimated 50,000 people to flee their homes.

Concern about continuous rains

“We were able to quickly get food moving to thousands of displaced families affected by these devastating floods,” stated WFP Country Representative in Nepal, Richard Ragan. “However, we are concerned about the continuous rains which could increase the number of people in need of food.”

Initial response

As an initial response, WFP will provide a 15-day food basket consisting of rice, pulses, salt and vegetable oil to 50,000 flood victims. WFP is prepared to provide food for up to 30 days for families who cannot return to their homes because of high water levels. Water still completely covers a significant portion of the Sunsari district which was flooded last week. WFP estimates that nearly 5,000 hectares of crops have been destroyed in the area.

Humanitarian food assistance has begun to reach flood-affected areas and distributions to displaced families should begin this week.

Local protests

However, local protests in Nawalparasi along the East-West Highway are delaying trucks carrying WFP humanitarian food relief to flood victims. WFP has begun escorting trucks through this section of the highway.

“I urge people not to block our food deliveries. Stopping much needed food to people who have lost everything is simply no way to deal with grievances,” urged Ragan.

Estimated needs

The European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid department (ECHO) made an early commitment of US$ 1.5 million. The contribution will cover the costs of food assistance for 50,000 people for up to 30 days, as well as some post-flood recovery activities. Based on initial assessments, WFP estimates that it will need an additional US$1.5 to US$3 million in contributions to meet longer-term food needs and to provide livelihood support and recovery for flood victims.

Save the Children US and the Red Cross in Sunsari and DEPROSC in Saptari are responsible for managing the general ration distribution to affected families who have taken refuge in 26 temporary camps across the two districts.