The United Nations World Food Programme warned today that long term relief and recovery efforts will be needed for many of the estimated 25 million people that have been affected by severe flooding across south Asia, with huge areas of land under water in India, Bangladesh and Nepal.
We urge donors to step forward with funding for early recovery programmes.
Josette Sheeran, WFP's Executive Director
In these three countries, as well as Pakistan, hit by a severe cyclone in late June of this year, WFP emphasised its readiness to provide emergency food assistance, if and when requested by their governments.
In Nepal, Pakistan and Bangladesh, WFP has provided immediate assistance from existing food stocks.
“After the floodwaters subside, millions of poor families will remain devastated from the loss of their crops, livestock and in some cases, family members,” said Josette Sheeran, WFP's Executive Director.
“WFP stands ready to assist with food and logistical support, and we urge donors to step forward with funding for early recovery programmes which are crucial in the wake of a crisis.”
"WFP food-for-work projects can quickly help rehabilitate destroyed houses and roads, while school meals are essential to getting children back to school, and back to a normal life,” Sheeran added.
To date, the only country to request international food assistance has been Nepal, where WFP has launched an emergency operation to feed 60,000 of the worst affected people for three months.
This is out of a total of 330,000 people affected in 33 out of Nepal's 75 districts. WFP estimates it will need US$1.5 million in additional funding to assist those affected by the Nepali floods.
In Bangladesh, WFP has already distributed 126 tons of emergency biscuits alongside UNICEF medicines and water purification tablets.
Elsewhere in the region, WFP has made small-scale interventions, as part of the immediate response, with the vast bulk of the humanitarian assistance being handled by the governments themselves.
WFP has welcomed these efforts by the governments concerned, while reiterating its willingness to provide support, especially in the post-floods recovery period.
“We are pleased to see governments taking a leading role in the response. Nevertheless, we are prepared to offer assistance to South Asian nations experiencing heavy flooding,” said Tony Banbury, WFP’s Regional Director for Asia.
“In the past we have supported these governments in building capacity to respond to natural disasters. It’s great to see them increasingly put this enhanced capacity to direct use.”