Nepal

Emergency humanitarian aid in favour of the people affected by drought in Nepal

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Location of operation: NEPAL

Amount of Decision: EUR 2,800,000

Decision reference number: ECHO/NPL/BUD/2006/02000

Explanatory Memorandum

1 - Rationale, needs and target population:

1.1. - Rationale:

Nepal is one of the world's poorest countries. Almost 90% of its 25 million inhabitants live in rural areas, and about 31% of them live below the poverty line, notably 42% in rural areas and 45% in the Mid-Western Region(1). This creates a high vulnerability to natural disasters, notably drought.

Forty-seven of the seventy-five districts are estimated to be food-deficit with serious food access constraints, especially in the hill and mountain areas of the mid- and far-west regions, which are also prone to localized natural hazards. Despite recent positive developments on the domestic political scene, the ten-year old internal conflict has exacerbated the already fragile situation in these areas by further limiting economic activities and curtailing any possible social, health and agricultural extension services.

This last winter, Nepal witnessed the lowest rainfall in recorded history (1960). Rainfall is generally expected each year from December to February, during the growth stage of the winter crop. Many districts across Nepal saw only 0% to 30% of the rainfall normally experienced and required for normal winter crop production(2). Moreover, in the Far West and Mid West hills, the summer rains 2006 have started late. This sequence of events culminated in severe food shortages, confirmed by a DG ECHO(3) assessment mission in August. The next harvest will be 1.5 months late and is expected to be at 30-60% of a full harvest predicting yet another severe hunger gap until the harvest in February-March 2007. The main affected districts are Bajura in the Far-West Region, and Dolpa, Dailekh, Humla, Jajarkot, Jumla, Kalikot, Mugu, Rukum and Rolpa in the Mid-West Regions. Total population under severe and high levels of vulnerability and needing external food assistance is estimated at 225,000 by the World Food Programme (WFP).

In response to this emergency, WFP launched their first-ever drought Emergency Operation in Nepal for an amount of USD 3.17 million(4). The original duration was three months starting on 22 June. However, in view of the impact of the late monsoon and therefore the expected failure of the coming harvest, and the fact that coping mechanisms are now exhausted, WFP decided on 6 September to extend this appeal until December with a revised amount of USD 5.37 million5. Only 40% of the appeal has been covered so far. For these reasons, DG ECHO intends to respond in a quick and exceptional manner to this extended appeal until the beginning of the next harvest this winter.

Notes:

(1) 2005 Human Development Index (HDI) rank : 136 out of 177 - Source: UNDP.

(2) World Food Programme Emergency Operation (EMOP), June 2006.

(3) Directorate-General for Humanitarian Aid - ECHO.

(4) EUR 2.48 million.