Food crunch hits Kalikot villages

Nepalgunj, March 9 :

The shortage of food in the villages of Kalikot district has forced youths to leave their homes in search of livelihood.

Except two youths, there are only children and elderly people at Dhaulagaha village due to drought for the last 18 months.

Dhir Bahadur Bam, who arrived in Nepalgunj to ask for relief, said: “Me and my friend Bishnu Raj are the only youths in the village; others have gone either to urban areas or India. We are living in the village to help the villagers in emergency,” he said at a press conference organised in Nepalgunj yesterday.

“Both the government and the Maoists have neglected our village,” said Bishnu Raj.

They have come to Nepalgunj in search of relief assistance after some five VDCs in Patala area, 140 km away from Nepalgunj, faced shortage of food because of drought.

Dhaulagaha, Khin, Thirpu, Ramnakot and Ranikot are the severely affected VDCs, where 26,000 people live. Twenty-nine families at Dhaulagaha have already been displaced due to starvation, they said.

The people in the region started facing food shortage after Thirpu Food Depot of the Nepal Food Corporation closed in 2001.

At the press meet, they urged the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) to provide food for them.

They also submitted an application to the Regional Administration Office (Surkhet) and NHRC Nepalgunj Office to provide food in their villages.

Disease and starvation claimed the lives 45 children in Kalikot in 2003, said Devraj Rokka, coordinator of the Karnali Integrated Rural Research Centre.