Kathmandu, May 22
British Minister of International Development Baroness Elizabeth Sugg today visited the construction site of a forward logistic base at Nepalgunj airport.
The FLB is being constructed by World Food Programme in Nepal in close coordination with the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal and the Ministry of Home Affairs.
This FLB is one of the seven planned logistics staging areas that are to be built to support provincial and national emergency response operations across the country. Once completed, each of the seven provinces in the country will have its own FLB, thereby forming a network that will improve storage and transport of relief goods to remote locations in times of disaster, the WFP said in a press release.
The construction follows the success of the UK-funded Kathmandu Humanitarian Staging Area, which was launched one month before the devastating 2015 earthquakes as the central humanitarian hub for emergency preparedness and response. The prompt activation of the facility saved 21 days in response time, which meant relief supplies reached the people in desperate need faster, according to the press release.
“Here in Nepal, natural disasters like floods and landslides are a significant threat and the poorest communities are the most vulnerable,” said the British minister, adding, “UK aid is working with the World Food Programme to build a new emergency response hub allowing us and the Government of Nepal to act faster and save more lives when it’s needed most,” Sugg said in the statement.
The opening ceremony attended by the UK minister of International Development and the deputy mayor of Nepalgunj Sub-metropolitan City together with senior officials from the WFP Nepal office took place at Nepalgunj airport.
“Investing in emergency preparedness ahead of disasters can save time and lives. Forward logistics bases at provincial levels, together with capacity building of humanitarian agencies and the government, will increase the capacity of each province to respond to disasters such as floods and landslides,” said Pippa Bradford, WFP Nepal representative and country director. “We are thankful to the Government of the United Kingdom for a generous contribution of US$4.2 million for this important initiative,” she added.
A version of this article appears in print on May 23, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.