Nature’s fury casts shadow on food security

KATHMANDU: Food insecurity looms large among thousands of families in the far- and mid-western regions, hit by floods and landslides earlier this month.

According to Nepal Red Cross Society (NRCS), more than 60 people were killed and 4,000 others displaced as a result of the unseasonal rains. About 25,000 families were affected, most of which in terms of loss of their food stock.

“Food crisis looks evident right from the harvest season, to utter dismay of many farmers,” the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) quoted Pitamber Sharma, head of the NRCS disaster department, as saying to Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN) in the capital.

“The delayed monsoon has shocked us all,” said Sharma. OCHA said thousands of families lost stocked food and seeds for next plantation.

Emergency food will be a major need of flood- and landslide-affected families over the next three months, with many paddy fields still under water, and large areas of harvested crops washed away, it said.

The districts affected include Dadeldhura, Achham, Bajhang, Bajura, Doti, Baitadi, Jumla, Rukum and Darchula in the Hill Region and Kailali, Kanchanpur, Banke, Bardiya and Dang in the Tarai region.

“Some of the affected districts are already among the most chronically food insecure areas — where people grow their crops largely for sustenance. And when they lose them, they don’t have anything,” Richard Ragan, country representative of the World Food Programme in Nepal, told IRIN. “The drought last winter affected Nepal’s food production greatly and many of the families still do not have enough production to sustain the food security of their families,” Oxfam’s Prabin Man Singh said.