WFP pledges continuity of support to Nepal amid controversies over supply of damaged foods

KATHMANDU: The United Nations' World Food Programme (WFP) said it would continue supporting the people of Nepal even though it has been dragged into controversies over the alleged supply of substandard foods in the earthquake-hit districts.

After being criticised by media and other domains of life for the remarks made by John Ging, Director of Coordination and Response Division, UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA), the WFP on Friday said, “WFP will stay at the side of the Nepali people, working hand in hand with the government to support the ongoing recovery efforts, and ultimately to assist in the construction of a stronger and more prosperous Nepal.”

Ging, at a press conference in the Capital on Wednesday, had claimed that WFP never distributed damaged foods to earthquake victims in Nepal.

He went on to say the reports that said the WFP supplied substandard and inedible food items to the earthquake-hit people were ‘nonsense’.

Without mentioning anything about Ging's comments and media reports thereafter, the WFP Country Director Pippa Bradford today expressed the organisation's commitment to work in Nepal.

WFP has launched a second phase which has already reached 440,000 people with rice, pulses and oil in 10 districts, and distributed nutrition supplements to prevent acute malnutrition to 12,700 children aged under two and 1,400 pregnant and breastfeeding mothers, the WFP said in a statement. Additionally, 37,000 people in two districts have received cash assistance in exchange for light recovery work such as removing rubble and rehabilitating fields, it added.

“Every person employed by WFP is working very hard on behalf of the earthquake-affected people. This is even more true for our Nepali colleagues, who are entirely focused on their work, in spite of having to deal with the consequences of the disaster on their homes and among their family members,” the statement quoted Bradford as saying.