WFP APPEALS FOR SAFE PASSAGE FOR FOOD AID AMID NEPAL’S CRISIS
Kathmandu – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has appealed to all parties to allow safe passage for food convoys in Nepal. Despite ongoing violence, WFP reiterated its commitment to continuing to provide urgently needed food aid to hundreds of thousands of Nepalese. Conflict, roadblocks, curfews and a general strike against the government by opposition groups have made reaching remote areas particularly difficult.
In the next few days WFP will be sending convoys from Biratnagar, in the south of the country, to refugee camps in Jhapa and Morang districts, where WFP is assisting thousands of Bhutanese refugees. The move was taken after previous dispatches of food were disrupted by ongoing strikes and blockades in the area, causing food shortages in the camps.
“WFP is neutral – we are here to support communities,” said Jean-Pierre de Margerie, acting Nepal country director for WFP. “We intend to do what it takes to ensure that food aid continues to reach those that need it.”
“This convoy of food aid for the refuges is travelling for purely humanitarian reasons and we ask all parties to assist in its passage,” said de Margerie. “It is critical for the food to reach the camps to avoid any hunger or suffering on the part of the people there.”
In other areas of Nepal, WFP assists communities affected by the ongoing conflict between the government and Maoist rebels. Food for Work projects provide essential rations to families as they rebuild roads and other community infrastructure in the most food insecure areas of the country. At the same time, WFP provides nutritious food to 300,000 children in schools and mothers in clinics in areas of the country experiencing conflict.
“WFP works with all parties to ensure that the assistance continues even in the midst of unrest -- our presence is seen as facilitating communications between both sides,” de Margerie said. “For example, in the Maoist controlled Sindhupalchok region close to the border of Tibet, government officials are allowed to access WFP road building project sites despite the conflict.”