The WFP pick-up stuck in mud on the way to Namgnone village in Oudomxay province.
Photo: WFP/Khamphay Onechaleunsouk
The rainy season is in full swing in Lao PDR from May to September. For WFP, this is often the most difficult time of the year to reach villagers in remote areas due to poor road conditions, landslides and roads blocked by fallen trees. But even then, WFP continues to provide assistance to vulnerable people in need of food in hard-to-reach villages.
OUDOMXAY – Early this month, WFP staffers, Khamphay and Chowa, endeavored to visit Namgnone village in Oudomxay Province to check the progress of a rice paddy expansion project which is part WFP’s Food-For-Asset (FFA) activities in Lao PDR. There was one problem though – the only way to reach Namgnone village is via a very rough, unpaved road.
The WFP team had no choice but to use this route to reach their destination. True enough, due to the road’s poor condition and the torrential rains, they got stuck! For over three hours, their pick-up truck was trapped in the thick mud - they couldn’t move forward or backward, only downward. The heavy rain had washed the banks around the strip onto the road, making it completely impassable. They were eventually able to pull the vehicle out of the mud, but not before the driver had climbed out the window to find help.
The rice paddy expansion project in Namgnone village directly involves 150 people and is set to benefit over 1,000 people. Other FFA projects such as building irrigation systems and access roads have already assisted over 1,500 people across 250 households in the country this year.
The villagers of Namgnone working on the rice paddy expansion project.
FFA activities engage people in food-insecure areas to construct or rebuild assets that benefit the community and help them meet their own nutritional needs. As an incentive for villagers to participate in such activities, WFP provides food rations such as rice and fortified oil for the duration of the project to assist in bridging the food gap during the lean season.