KATHMANDU – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) together with the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal have today inaugurated the country’s first Humanitarian Staging Area at the Tribhuvan International Airport.
Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister, Bam Dev Gautam, was the chief guest at the ceremony, attended by 200 government officials and members of the humanitarian community. WFP Assistant Executive Director, Manoj Juneja, and Dr. Gail Marzetti, Head of DFID were also present as special guests.
Mr Gautam praised WFPs efforts and called for the network of HSAs to be expanded: “This type of Humanitarian Staging Area should be built all across the nation as we are vulnerable to different types of disasters, such as fire in the dry season and floods during monsoon season,” he said.
Mr Juneja went on to emphasize the importance of taking measures before an emergency strikes. “There is a huge amount of evidence that investing in preparedness saves more lives faster and significantly reduces costs, therefore, making sound social, economic and financial sense,” said Mr. Juneja. He went on to appeal for much needed resources. “WFP needs additional funds of around US$ 3.5 million to complete this important network of Emergency hubs throughout Kathmandu – without it the full impact of this important project cannot be realized.”
Under the leadership of Nepal’s Ministry of Home Affairs, a project was initiated in 2013 by WFP and the Logistics Cluster to develop four Humanitarian Staging Areas across the Kathmandu Valley from which strategic response in the event of a large-scale emergency, such as an earthquake or flooding will be mobilized.
The Humanitarian Staging Area that was officially opened today at the airport was constructed with the generous support of UK Aid, from the British Government through the Department for International Development (DFID). It will act as the main hub for airlifted and overland humanitarian assistance entering the Kathmandu Valley in case of an emergency.
The Humanitarian Staging Area also has the potential to serve as a hub for predictable rapid-onset seasonal disasters such as flooding that occur annually.
WFP has provided food assistance in Nepal since 1964, and food to address emergency needs since 1967. During the decade of civil conflict (1996-2006), WFP responded to the food needs of people affected by conflict as well as those suffering from acute food insecurity. While the focus remained on humanitarian relief after 2006, WFP increasingly worked to address the causes of hunger, using a wider range of options. In 2014, WFP provided assistance to more than 492, 909 people in Nepal through emergency and livelihoods assistance.
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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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For more information please contact:
Sakun Gajurel, WFP/Nepal, Tel: +977 1 526 0607 (2431)