Olangchungola villagers take to hunting as food supply dwindles

Olangchungola, June 9:

People of Olangchungola VDC in Taplejung district are hunting wild animals to avert starvation. This remote village has been facing a food crisis ever since the Chinese government closed its Tibet border in November, citing protests by Tibetans. On top of it, the Nepal government has not been able to supply enough food grain to this village.

"The village has been witnessing a shortage of food stuff due to the blockade on the China-Nepal border. Due to the blockade, we cannot bring in food stuff from Tibet," a local, Yanki Sherpa, said.

It is quite difficult to bring food grain to Olangchungola from Phungling bazaar because of a rugged terrain, Sherpa said adding that the village has run out of stock of food. These villagers have no option except to poach wild animals, including snow leopard, red panda, musk deer and deer in the Kanchajunga Conservation Area for food.

"We cannot go to Tibet to purchase food stuff. We have been facing a food shortage," another local Chhambe Sherpa said.

Taplejung chief district officer Bhawanath Bhattarai said the villagers can be provided food grain if they come to district headquarters. "It is very difficult to supply food grain in the region due to the rugged terrain and lack of food depots."

Together with local administration, Phungling-based depot of Nepal Food Corporation can distribute rice to starvation-hit villagers, NFC depot chief Narendra KC said, adding, "Villagers should come to the depot if they want rice."