Aid agencies appeal for $123.5m for the poor

KATHMANDU: Humanitarian agencies in Nepal today appealed for US$ 123.5 million to fund projects to assist more than 3.4 million people across the country, who are in need of life-saving assistance, including food aid, in 2010.

A statement issued by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs stated that nearly half of Nepal’s districts were witnessing food shortages. The humanitarian country team has estimated that nearly 2.5 million people face extreme food insecurity, mainly in the mid and far-western hill and mountain regions.

Strengthening preparedness and early warning systems to reduce the number of people affected by future disasters is also a priority, stated the release. “Nepal is highly vulnerable to natural disasters, including floods, landslides and earthquakes.”

Stating that some 152,000 people were affected by monsoon floods and landslides in 2009, the release stated that preparedness activities in water, sanitation and hygiene were also needed as severe diarrhoea outbreak had occurred in western districts of Nepal last year.

“As a country emerging from conflict, Nepal needs sustained international humanitarian support to see it through this fragile period of transition,” John Holmes, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, said in the statement.

“An estimated 28,000 children die every year from preventable diseases, some of them the

consequences of severe


Most of these problems can be solved with an adequate donor support,” Holmes added.

Stating that more than 70 percent of household budgets are spent for purchasing food, and dependence on subsistence agriculture remains high, the statement said that inadequate funding for agriculture in 2009 is believed to have compounded the effects of the severe winter drought.

The funds requested in the 2010 Nepal Humanitarian Transition Appeal will be used to improve food security, fund nutrition projects, strengthen disaster preparedness and assist refugees, it said. Nepal hosts an estimated 89,000 refugees from neighbouring Bhutan.

The appealing organisations are seven United Nations agencies and three Non-Government Organisations.