KATHMANDU – Thousands of porters are carrying food and other relief high into Nepal’s mountains, and repairing trails as they go, as part of a shift by the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) from emergency response to longer-term recovery after the 25 April earthquake.
“Over the last two months, we have fed nearly 2 million people in some of the most challenging terrain on earth,” said Richard Ragan, WFP’s Emergency Coordinator in Nepal.
“We have started the difficult transition from the emergency period to the early recovery phase – providing cash, employment and rebuilding opportunities for people heavily impacted by the disaster,” he said.
A cash-for-work programme in areas with access to markets has already allowed 9,000 households to build transitional shelters and to work on their fields, which in turn has revitalized local markets.
Up to 20,000 porters, who lost their livelihoods because of the abrupt end to the trekking season, receive income for repairing vital trails blocked by the quake and for bringing essential supplies to communities that have been cut off.
In partnership with the World Health Organization, WFP is building 50 temporary clinics in remote areas to enable communities to access much-needed health services.
However, on the eve of the international donor community meeting in Kathmandu, WFP is warning that it is running out of funds. WFP’s operation in Nepal is 38 percent funded and US$74 million is needed to keep providing assistance until the end of the year.
WFP, as the lead UN agency for logistics, also needs to continue providing essential logistics and telecommunication services, including maintaining a fleet of trucks to transport relief items and building materials on behalf of the entire humanitarian community.
“The world has come together with huge generosity to provide life-saving assistance to the people of Nepal,” said Ragan. “The hard work, though, begins now. People need to urgently build temporary shelters against the monsoon rains. The heavy downpours risk causing more landslides on land already unsettled by scores of aftershocks. To maintain and expand an operation of this scope and logistical complexity, sustained financial support is required.”
So far WFP has received contributions from (in alphabetical order): Australia, Canada, Denmark, the European Union, Germany, Japan, Liechtenstein, the Netherlands, Norway, private donors, the UN’s Central Emergency Response Fund, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America.
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WFP is the world's largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide, delivering food assistance in emergencies and working with communities to improve nutrition and build resilience. Each year, WFP assists some 80 million people in around 75 countries.
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