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United Kingdom contributes 49 million to help Nepali families cope with COVID-19 and food insecurity

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KATHMANDU - The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) welcomes a contribution of £4.49 million (equivalent to US$5.75 million or 678 million Nepali Rupees) from the United Kingdom to help some of Nepal’s most vulnerable people cope with the COVID-19 pandemic and provide food security and nutrition recovery support for their families.

The UKAid contribution, through the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO), will allow WFP to support around 13,000 families affected by the socio-economic impact of COVID-19 with cash-based assistance. The assistance is part of the Livelihoods and Economic Recovery Project to help improve livelihoods and reduce food insecurity in five vulnerable districts of Province 2, Karnali and Sudur-Paschim Provinces.

More than 73,000 vulnerable young mothers and children in eight districts of Province 2 will also be reached with a combination of nutritious food and counselling to promote nutrition education. Meanwhile more than 19,000 people will benefit from working on trail and bridge improvements in the earthquake-affected mountainous areas of Gorkha, Dhading and Rasuwa districts. The community projects provide them with employment and the cash they receive in payment is spent in buying food and other necessities from local shops, providing a boost to the local economy.

Ms. Lisa Honan, Development Director at the British Embassy Kathmandu said, “Over the very long relationship between the people of Nepal and the British public, the UK has provided help in times of crisis. The Covid-19 crisis is no exception. I am proud that we are providing UKAid to help some of the poor and vulnerable people of Nepal, particularly mothers and children, who have been especially hard hit. My thanks go to our WFP partners for joining us in this effort and helping us to make it happen.”

In rural areas across the country, the pandemic has destroyed work and livelihood opportunities for many households. Currently, 20.2 per cent of households in Nepal are severely food insecure, meaning they struggle to buy or produce enough food to live a healthy life. Around 43 per cent of children between 6 to 23 months do not have enough variety in their diet. Families with vulnerable members including the disabled, elderly, children, family members suffering from COVID-19 or with pre-existing medical conditions, as well as pregnant women and breast-feeding mothers, have been most severely affected.

For those families who cannot take part in the Livelihood project’s ‘cash for work’ activities, WFP will provide unconditional cash support to protect them against resorting to negative coping mechanisms such as eating fewer and smaller meals, child labour or child marriage.

“We are thankful for this timely commitment from the United Kingdom when the most vulnerable and food-insecure families in Nepal are facing an increase in food prices, decrease in income and large-scale unemployment,” said WFP Nepal Representative and Country Director Pippa Bradford. “The United Kingdom’s contribution to the WFP will provide immediate, much-needed assistance to more than 160,000 most-vulnerable COVID affected people desperately struggling to feed their families in some of the most remote areas of Nepal.”

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The United Nations World Food Programme is the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate. We are the world’s largest humanitarian organization, saving lives in emergencies and using food assistance to build a pathway to peace, stability and prosperity for people recovering from conflict, disasters and the impact of climate change.

Follow us on Twitter @wfp_media; wfp_UK; @wfp_nepal

Contact

For more information please contact (email address: firstname.lastname@wfp.org):

Jane Howard, WFP/London, Mob. +44 (0)796 8008 474

Monica Upadhyay, WFP/Nepal, Mob. +977 985110 5248