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Nepal: UN Food Programme Threatened By Conflict

Nepal: UN Food Programme Warns Its Activities Threatened By Conflict

The United Nations emergency feeding agency has expressed concern that fighting between the Government of Nepal and Maoist rebels is severely hampering its ability to help hundreds of thousands of hungry people by endangering its staff.

"The conflict hurts most those who can least afford it," World Food Programme (WFP) Deputy Executive Director Sheila Sisulu said on a visit to the Himalayan kingdom, during which she had talks with Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba.

"In order for WFP to carry out its work to feed the hungry poor of Nepal, all parties must be committed to the security of our staff," she added.

While conveying to Mr. Deuba WFP's commitment to continue to provide much-needed food assistance, Ms. Sisulu explained how that aid is inevitably put in jeopardy when the safety of agency staff is put at risk as demonstrated by incidents over the last two months. The Prime Minister promised that the Government would "do everything possible to support and not hinder WFP's assistance," she said.

Agency aid in Nepal is aimed at helping improve people's lives in health, education and household economy. Its school feeding programme aims to provide nourishing meals in schools to 450,000 children and "take-home rations" to 99,000 girls as incentive to their parents to keep them in school.

In addition, its food-for-work programme enables 46,800 vulnerable families to improve food security of some 295,000 beneficiaries while upgrading roads and rural infrastructure to benefit the community as a whole.

WFP also provides fortified blended food and health care services to 2,200 expectant and nursing mothers and 4,300 children under three years of age, and gives training and refresher courses in maternal and child health and nutrition.

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