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UN Food Agency Starts Feeding Flood-Hit Nepalese

UN Food Agency Starts Feeding Tens Of Thousands Of Flood-Hit Nepalese

New York, Sep 11 2006 10:00AM

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) this week began feeding survivors of recent flooding in southwestern Nepal, nearly 80,000 people affected by extensive flooding who are believed to be cut off from regular access to food and shelter.

“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.

“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,” Mr. Ragan said. “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.

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.

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

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

But funds are low; only about 40 per cent of what is needed is available, and most of this came from temporary WFP sources. Tony Banbury, WFP’s Asia Director said it is “critical” that international donors step forward and provide resources necessary to make the agency’s continued assistance possible.

Ends

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