WFP begins major feeding operation for flood victims in western Nepal

Published on 09 November 2006

WFP this week began feeding survivors of recent flooding in the southwestern Terai region of Nepal -- nearly 80,000 people affected by extensive flooding believed to be cut off from regular access to food and shelter

WFP this week began feeding survivors of recent flooding in the southwestern Terai region of Nepal -- nearly 80,000 people affected by extensive flooding believed to be cut off from regular access to food and shelter.

It is critical that international donors step forward and provide WFP with the resources necessary to make that assistance possible,

Tony Banbury, WFP Asia Director

“Over the weekend the country was again pounded by heavy rainfall, but we’ve been able to get enough food out to feed nearly 50,000 people for seven days,” said Richard Ragan, WFP's Country Director for Nepal.

Working with the Nepal Red Cross Society, WFP will provide rice, oil, lentils, and salt, worth some US$500,000, to feed people over the next month in four western districts of Nepal -- Banke, Bardiya, Achham, and Mugu.

"Tragic crisis"

"Our operations are underway and working with Nepal Red Cross we plan to make sure that food isn't a problem for the victims of this tragic crisis. While much of the world's attention is focused on the ongoing peace process in Nepal, it is important that we also respond to the very real and immediate needs of these victims of a terrible natural disaster," said Ragan.

WFP is also working closely with the Government of Nepal and the Red Cross to determine what kind of medium and longer term recovery needs might be necessary.

The UN humanitarian agency anticipates that needs are likely to rise over the rest of this year as the districts of Banke and Bardiya are important rice producing areas for Nepal where flooding has washed away much of the upcoming crop.

WFP prepared to help

“If the government identifies the need for additional international support, we are prepared to help,” said Ragan.

Since June of this year, WFP has also been working to feed 225,000 people in the remote parts of western Nepal affected by ongoing drought.

Presently, the program is only about 40 percent resourced with most of these funds coming from temporary WFP sources.

Donors sought

Donors are being sought for to provide food aid for both drought and now flood victims in Nepal.

"The people of western Nepal have seen their crops die under severe drought conditions over the past six months, and have now the country has suffered a second blow from extensive floods," said Tony Banbury, WFP Asia Director.

"WFP is committed to helping them through this crisis. It is critical that international donors step forward and provide WFP with the resources necessary to make that assistance possible," he said.