Refugee camps in Morang, Jhapa facing food crisis

Jhapa, January 28

The disruption in food distribution in Bhutanese refugee camps of Jhapa and Morang districts for the past five days has led to a humanitarian crisis.

Volunteers of the camps have halted food distribution after the World Food Programme under the United Nations reduced the supply of food relief since five days. Around 500 volunteers have stopped food distribution in the camps in protest.

"We cannot work with half-filled stomach. Initially I started eating one meal a day, but now I go to bed on empty stomach," said Secretary Sanchahang Subba at Beldangi Camp.

School-going children of the camp have started working in bazaar areas instead of going to school due to the food crunch.

Damala Prasad Adhikari, who has been living in Beldangi-based refugee camp, said many of them were suffering from various health complications as they did not have enough food to eat. "We will die of hunger in front of the United Nations office," he said.

The volunteers said they had started a non-cooperation protest since January 23 after the WFP stopped offering pulse, cooking oil and salt to the refugees between six and 60 years of age. The WFP has planned to distribute food to 2,904 out of 10,265 refugees in the districts.

Meanwhile, the WFP said the food relief was reduced after its international donor agencies stopped providing aid.