Nepal: WFP appeals for free passage for food aid

KATHMANDU, 14, November, 2006 (UN WFP) - The United Nations World Food Programme is appealing to members of the Nepal Transport Union to allow the free passage of WFP convoys attempting to deliver food assistance to over 50,000 drought-affected people in Mid- and Far Western Nepal and over 100,000 Bhutanese refugees. The Nepal Transport Union has been disrupting the flow of transport trucks across Nepal for the past week.

"Over 50,000 hungry people in Humla, Jumla, and Dolpa are waiting for our helicopters to arrive so that they can receive desperately needed food rations," reported WFP Representative, Richard Ragan, " Both the refugees and the people of the Mid-West have suffered enough. We need those trucks through - and our helicopters full, so that we can continue to provide humanitarian assistance to hungry families."

WFP is in its third phase of emergency operations to provide a two-month ration to over 225,000 drought-affected people in Mid- and Far- Western Nepal. Over 265 helicopter flights are planned out of Surkhet to deliver 730 metric tons of food to these remote communities. In the east, WFP provides food for all 7 of the Bhutanese refugee camps.

"WFP provides food assistance to the most vulnerable men, women and children. Without the ability to freely transport food aid across Nepal over one million people could go hungry," reported Ragan.

With an annual budget of nearly USD $30 million dollars for Nepal, WFP will provide food assistance to nearly 1.78 million Nepalis, and over 106,000 Bhutanese refugees at the close of 2006.

WFP's humanitarian support targets the most vulnerable populations living in 31 food deficit districts across Nepal. In addition to food aid for the Bhutanese refugees and drought-affected families, WFP's programmes provide: school feeding to students, nutritional support for pregnant and nursing mothers and their young children, and livelihood support to poor, food-insecure households, through food for work activities.

WFP is the world's largest humanitarian agency: each year, we give food to an average of 90 million poor people to meet their nutritional needs, including 56 million hungry children, in at least 80 of the world's poorest countries.

WFP -- We Feed People.

WFP inquiries: Please contact WFP Country Representative Richard Ragan or Communications Officer, Heather Sutliff, ( at 554-2607 or 553-5694.