1. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
Nepal, the poorest country in South Asia, has been the theatre of two forgotten crises for more than ten years.
Since the proclamation of the "Peoples' war" by Maoist insurgency groups in 1996, it is estimated that the ten-year insurgency has killed nearly 13,000 people to date, with a sharp increase since 2002 and an escalation from both sides since the King assumed full executive powers on 1 February 2005. Moreover, violence and human rights abuses by both sides has led to increased migration of young men to India and to the fertile plain of the Terai, leaving the women, children and elderly of the rural hilly districts caught in the middle of the conflict. This particularly affects landless families or those with little land, as local sources of work or income have been significantly affected by the conflict, who are therefore becoming food insecure. Additionally, provision of basic health, sanitation and educational services is poor and sometimes absent in the most remote areas of these districts. These vulnerable populations trapped in rural and remote areas have been the main target of DG ECHO(1) assistance. Although people have been displaced because of the conflict, for which an unconfirmed figure of minimum 200,000 people has been given, it is extremely difficult to differentiate conflict-affected displacement from the traditional economic migration to the Terai and India.
Nepal is also facing another humanitarian crisis of the more than 107,000 Bhutanese refugees who have been living in camps in two eastern districts of Nepal since the early nineties with no political solution in sight. These refugees do not have the right to work or to own land in Nepal and therefore rely almost entirely on external assistance to survive.
DG ECHO is one of the major humanitarian donors in Nepal, with interventions in favour of the Bhutanese refugees starting as early as 1995. The strategy for 2006 builds on DG ECHO's interventions since 2002, the principal objective being to provide assistance to the rural population of Nepal affected by the conflict and to Bhutanese refugees.
Under this Global Plan at least 170,000 people living in the remote rural districts of Nepal will receive protection assistance and will see their living conditions improved. Also, around 107,000 Bhutanese refugees in seven camps in South East Nepal will benefit from DG ECHO's intervention. In total more than 270,000 persons will be assisted.
This Global Plan proposes humanitarian operations for a total amount of EUR 5 million. Projects will have an average duration of 12 months within an 18-month decision implementation period.
(1) Directorate-General for Humanitarian Aid - ECHO.