Emergency operations

The World Food Programme’s (WFP) Nepal earthquake response helps people affected by both earthquakes that struck the country in April and May 2015, by delivering emergency food assistance and organising logistics. Some of the response contributes to the country’s long-term recovery. More information can be found on the Nepal earthquake emergency page.

More on Nepal

The Himalayan country of Nepal is one of the world’s poorest and ranks 145th of 188 countries in the 2015 UNDP human development index. Although civil conflict ended in 2006, political turbulence continues and poverty remains a challenge. GDP per capita is US$707 and 25 percent of Nepal’s population lives below the national poverty line on less than US$0.50 per day.

Frequent natural disasters negatively affect livelihoods and food security. Nepal’s vulnerability to high food prices, especially in remote mountain areas, exacerbates food insecurity. Challenging and isolated geography, natural disasters, civil unrest and lack of infrastructure complicate efforts to improve livelihoods, establish functioning markets and transport food.

What are the current issues in Nepal?

  • Malnutrition

    Nepal has one of the highest malnutrition rates in the world. About 41 percent of children aged under five are stunted, 29 percent are underweight and 11 percent suffer from wasting due to acute malnutrition. Micronutrient deficiencies are also widespread; in particular, 46 percent of children aged 6-59 months, 35 percent of women of reproductive age and 48 percent of pregnant women are anaemic. Malnutrition slows economic growth and perpetuates poverty through direct losses to productivity from poor physical status; indirect losses from poor cognitive function; and increased health costs.

  • Natural disasters

    On 25 April and 12 May 2015, two earthquakes of devastating magnitude struck Nepal, taking the lives of nearly 9,000 people, injuring 22,500 others and affecting the livelihoods of eight million people across 31 of the country’s 75 districts. Such was the scale of the disaster that the Government of Nepal declared a state of emergency and asked the international community to support the response, prioritizing 14 of 31 affected districts for humanitarian assistance.

    Combined damage and losses are estimated at US$7 billion – one-third of Nepal’s gross domestic product (GDP) – while 700,000 people have been pushed into poverty as a result of the disaster, especially in remote areas near the quake epicenters.

    WFP responded with humanitarian assistance for more than 2 million people affected by the 2015 earthquake. More broadly, WFP’s work in Nepal primarily targets the most food insecure and those in the hard-to-reach districts of the Mid- and Far-Western Hills and Mountains.

What is the World Food Programme doing in Nepal?

Working in Nepal since 1963, WFP’s Country Programme (CP) supports the Government of Nepal to enhance the food and nutrition security of vulnerable communities and to increase resilience to disasters. The programme covers three components, providing the government with capacity-building support for each: (i) Livelihoods creation, providing seasonal employment and livelihood training enabling rehabilitation of rural roads, irrigation channels and other community assets; (ii) Education support, including non-food items such as energy-saving stoves, school furniture, kitchens, water stations and latrines. As well, WFP has provided school meals to some 190,0000 pre-primary and primary school children to keep children in school and encourage greater enrollment and attendance; (iii) Nutrition support, assisting the Ministry of Health in the prevention of chronic malnutrition among pregnant women, nursing mothers and children aged under five months.

  • Risk Reduction and Capacity Development

    Regular reports on household food security, food prices, agriculture and early warning of emergency situations are provided by the WFP’s vulnerability analysis and mapping (VAM) unit. It works in close partnership with the Government on the nationwide, district-level Nepal Food Security Monitoring System (NeKSAP).

  • Earthquake Recovery Activities

    A three-year Protracted Relief and Recovery Operation aims to support the livelihoods and food security of vulnerable people affected by the 2015 earthquakes as well as working with the Government in repairing infrastructure and promoting resilient livelihoods.

  • Food assistance to refugees in Nepal

    WFP has been providing humanitarian assistance to refugees from Bhutan living in camps in Nepal for the past 23 years - all of whom are entirely dependent on external assistance to meet their daily needs. By December 2015, third country resettlement has meant more than 100,000 refugees have left. In 2016, WFP will provide food assistance to 15,000 refugees across two camps.

Featured Nepal publications

  • Nepal: WFP Country Brief (PDF, 353 KB)

    A Country Brief provides the latest snapshot of the country strategy, operations, operational highlights (achievements and issues/challenges), partnerships and country background.

Looking for more publications on Nepal? Visit the Nepal publications archive.