Refugee students demand food, stage protest

Jhapa, January 30

Students from Bhutanese Refugee Camp at Beldangi, Jhapa, today staged a demonstration in front of camp management committee office demanding food.

Beldangi Camp Secretary Sanchahang Subba said that volunteers had halted distributing  food from the camp management committee for the past eight days.  Volunteers have stopped distributing food saying that World Food Programme had cut off food for meant for the camp.

Baldangi Camp has almost 2,500 students. Of them, almost 35 student representatives today staged a demonstration.

Secretary Subba warned that the situation might turn violent if the situation continued. “Refugees are making their ends meet through borrowing and lending. If this situation continues for a week, things might go out of control,” Subba warned.

Volunteers have started an agitation not to cooperate, saying that WFP had stopped giving pulses, cooking oil and salt to the refugees from six to 60 years of age and reduced the rice quantity to 335 grams an individual per day. WFP is preparing to provide full food items to the crisis prone 2,904 refugees and slash the food items to the remaining 7,361 refugees from Jhapa and Morang from this year itself.

Refugee Representative Repatriation Committee Chairman Bhampa Rai said that people, including children, might suffer from different diseases due to lack of food and they might get into wrongdoing to make their ends meet. He asked the Nepal government to take necessary steps to resolve the problem soon.

Jhapa CDO Uttar Kumar Khatri said that DAO was informed about the crisis facing the refugees that had resulted from cuts in the food items to refugees. “The government is working to solve the problem,” Khatri said.