This operation has been modified and extended in time until 31 December 2010 as per Budget revision 9 (see below).
The end of the civil war in November 2006 followed by the institution of a new government in May 2008 left Nepal’s citizens hoping for changes that would improv their lives; yet, many people continue to live in near crisis conditions – with continued civil unrest, limited access to food, livelihood opportunities, or basic social services.
Poverty, food insecurity, lack of infrastructure, developed markets, and economic opportunities mean families are consumed with putting together a daily meal. Spending time rebuilding damaged infrastructure or investing in new agricultural pursuits is a near impossibility for the majority of Nepalese
High food prices and a series of natural disasters have further plunged people already on the edge into deeper poverty. Many families have been forced to eat less nutritious food and reduce meals. Consequently, in some areas malnutrition is at emergency levels. Chronic malnutrition rates for children under 5 are nearly 80 percent and acute malnutrition rates are as high as 23 percent in some communities.
In response, WFP launched a US$109 million operation to provide critical food assistance to protect lives and restore the livelihoods of more than 2.7 million people affected by conflict, high food prices and natural disasters. This is WFP-Nepal’s largest operation and includes the following activities.
Livelihood Support and Asset Creation
In exchange for work to repair or build critical infrastructure, community members receive food or a combination of food and cash. WFP food assistance improves peoples’ immediate food needs and enables them to create assets that will help improve their longer-term food security – trails, roads, irrigation systems and public buildings. Cash assistance injects much needed resources into areas with flagging economies, helping to develop markets which improve livelihood prospects, and access to food and services. Reduced hunger, plus asset creation and new economic opportunities equals stronger communities less likely to slip back into poverty in the face of natural disasters - or into conflict because they don’t have enough food to eat.
Given the alarming rates of malnutrition, WFP in partnership with UNICEF, is distributing micronutrient packets in addition to a food basket of rice and lentils in highly food-insecure areas.
Return and Rehabilitation
WFP supports the return and reintegration of internally displaced people (IDPs) and children associated with armed forces and armed groups (CAAFAG) through provision of food assistance packages. These packages ease the burden of feeding returned family members and facilitate their participation in vocational training and other psychosocial and rehabilitation programmes. In areas with large numbers of returnees, WFP food assistance is provided to community members who work together to build assets. Community-based activities help repair relationships and reintegrate returnees into society.
When the Koshi river broke through its embankment in August 2008 flood waters displaced more than 60,000 people and damaged critical infrastructure. Since then, WFP has been supporting the displaced through general food distributions and supplementary feeding. For those able to return, WFP plans to provide food assistance so that families can spend time rebuilding their homes and recovering their livelihoods. People needing longer-term recovery support may receive food assistance in exchange for repairing infrastructure. With enough funding, WFP plans to continue assistance through June 2009.