WFP has started transporting emergency food assistance to help communities in western Nepal hit by drought in an operation that is eventually expected to reach 225,000 people.
Families are struggling to find enough food to feed their children by selling their household goods and livestock to survive the rainless period
Richard Ragan, WFP County Director in Nepal
Nepal has had its driest winter since 1960, according to government records, and last year’s monsoon rains were late and erratic – this on top of two poor harvests in a region that is already chronically food insecure.
“Food insecurity is already a fact of life in these districts, and we are very concerned that drought will exacerbate what was already a precarious situation,” said Richard Ragan, WFP County Director in Nepal.
“To further complicate things, many of the target areas are located in some of Nepal’s most remote locations and could require very expensive airlift operations. With the rains approaching, the time to act is now if we are to be able to save lives in these areas.”
Assistance will be provided through an accelerated Food-for-Work programme.
Families in drought-hit areas will receive a two-month ration of rice and fortified wheat flour as they participate in quick-impact community projects.
The three-month emergency operation is intended to tide families over to the next harvest, and will cover nine districts in the mid-west area of Nepal, along with Bajura district in the far west.
“While there has been much attention on the easing of the recent political crisis in Nepal, these developments have had little impact on people in the drought-affected districts,” said Ragan.
“Families are struggling to find enough food to feed their children by selling their household goods and livestock to survive the rainless period.”
Because many of the drought-affected communities are some of Nepal’s most isolated, WFP will launch an appeal to support airlifts into the most inaccessible areas.