Flooding devastates Nepal’s prime farming region
Severe flooding is devastating Nepal’s main food-producing region, swamping farm fields, sweeping away thousands of livestock and displacing families. The disaster is threatening to cause a serious food shortage in the South Asian nation.
“More than 15,000 farming families that we work with in southern Nepal are suffering from the flash flooding, and we believe the number will rise as we reestablish contact with communities that have been cut off. Many have had to flee their homes, and they lack food and water,” said Sumnima Shrestha, a spokeswoman for Heifer International, a U.S.-based nonprofit working to end poverty with sustainable agriculture and economic development.
“The heavy rains hit at one of the worst times in southern Nepal, shortly after farmers planted their rice crop in the country’s most important agricultural region,” said Shrestha, who is based in Nepal. “The rice will likely be lost. Making matters worse, thousands of livestock have disappeared in the flash flooding. The loss of grain and animals could set Nepal up for a severe shortage of food.”
Many of the displaced families Heifer works with are staying in schools, tents or community buildings. Roads are submerged and bridges are impassable, cutting off transport to the affected areas. “Phone service to many of our project sites has been cut, leaving us unable to reach our field staff and partners,” Shrestha said. “We will likely receive more reports of severe damage as the communication lines reopen in the coming days.”
ABOUT HEIFER INTERNATIONAL Heifer’s mission is to end hunger and poverty while caring for the Earth. For more than 70 years, Heifer International has provided livestock and environmentally sound agricultural training to improve the lives of those who struggle daily for reliable sources of food and income. Heifer is currently working in nearly 30 countries, including the United States, to help families and communities become more self-reliant. Heifer’s goal is to help 4 million families achieve living incomes by 2020, which will allow them to feed their families daily; educate all their children; and have proper housing, water, hygiene and other essential resources. For information, visit Heifer.org, read our blog, follow us on Facebook, on Twitter or call 888.5HUNGER (888.548.6437).