Nepal: Food security bulletin 21 - Nov 2008



- Over the period July to September 2008, the number of people highly and severely food insecure increased by about 50% compared to the previous quarter due to severe flooding in the East and Western Terai districts, roads obstruction because of incessant rainfall and landslides, rise in food prices and decreased production of maize and other local crops.

- The food security situation in the flood affected districts of Eastern and Western Terai remains precarious, requiring close monitoring, while in the majority of other districts the food security situation is likely to improve in November-December due to harvesting of the paddy crop.

- Decreased maize and paddy production in some districts may indicate a deteriorating food insecurity situation from January onwards.


Mid and Far-Western Nepal

A considerable improvement in food security was observed in some Hill districts such as Jajarkot, Bajura, Dailekh, Rukum, Baitadi, and Darchula. These districts were severely or highly food insecure during April - July 2008 because of heavy loss in winter crops,

rise in market prices and lack of employment opportunities. The situation has improved due to WFP's food assistance in some areas and the harvesting of summer crops this August. The food security situation has deteriorated or has remained mostly unchanged in many VDCs in the Mountains where around 200,000 people in Kalikot, Achham, Bajhang, Mugu, Humla and Dolpa continue to be severely or highly food insecure. This condition has been caused by a variety of factors including: obstruction of roads due to rain and landslides, food price increases, lower production of local crops (Chinu and millet), closing of the Tibetan border across which small trades are generally conducted, and a fall in income levels from the sale of Yarsagumba.

The overall food security situation is likely to improve in many of these districts during November-December due to summer crop harvests (particularly paddy), availability of more employment opportunities and improved supply of food in markets. WFP food for assets will play a significant role in improving short-term food security as well as generating employment opportunities for many vulnerable communities during this period. However, there is an expectation of deteriorating food security from January onwards as in most of the Hill and Mountain districts excessive rainfall, floods, landslides, strong wind, and pest diseases have badly affected maize production and consequently reduced food stocks much below what is normally expected during this time of the year. The situation could be even worse in some districts where excessive rainfall and pests have decreased paddy crop production by about 30-50%.

Central and Eastern Nepal

The Central and Eastern districts covered by FSMAS were generally found to be food secure during the period July until September and the outlook for November-December is generally stable.

Floods in Southeast - Southwest Nepal

During the months of August and September 2008, the South East and South West of Nepal incurred significant damage and destruction through separate incidents of severe flooding. The Eastern Terai districts of Sunsari and Saptari and the Western Terai districts of Kanchanpur, Kailali and Bardiya were particularly affected. The initial assessment of food security carried out in the framework of the Multi-Agency Koshi River Flood Impact Assessment in September indicated a severe decline in household food security. This significantly improved with the arrival of humanitarian food assistance, which has been provided to 64,000 floodaffected/ displaced people over the last three months. Longer-term food security could be achieved through the provision of return packages consisting of food and other essentials as well as agriculture support to restore people's livelihoods.

In the Western Terai, a recent rapid assessment conducted by WFP in November, revealed that the food security ituation is still critical in Kanchanpur and Kailali where 137,000 people are reported to be severely or highly food insecure (pages 7-11 provide an overview of the current situation). Although in theses areas the majority of displaced people could return to their land, support is still required to assist the rehabilitation of people's livelihoods in the most affected communities.

This bulletin provides the latest update on the food security situation in 37 districts, covered by the field surveillance system of the WFP Food Security Monitoring and Analysis System (FSMAS) using the food security phase classification methodology. Map 1 and 2 show the food security situation for July-September and its likely evolution during the period November- December. Pages 12 to 18 provide a detailed description of food security for most districts ranked according to their overall phase classification. Table 3 on page 19 gives detailed estimates of the number of highly and severely food insecure populations. Pages 5-6 provide an overview of selected household food security indicators in their respective food security phase classifications.