KATHMANDU: The United Nations on Thursday expressed concerns over the acute shortage of fuel that affected the delivery of humanitarian supplies to the earthquake-affected areas in Nepal and stressed on the urgency of delivery by the end of October as the winter was approaching.

In a statement issued on behalf of the Humanitarian Community, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Nepal, Jamie Mcgoldrick, said the humanitarian organisations in Nepal are facing a race against time to ensure delivery of urgently required supplies such as food and shelter materials to these high altitude areas that will soon be cut off with the onset of winter.

"The onset of winter in Nepal is projected to have an adverse impact on earthquake-affected communities living in high-altitude isolated areas," the statement said.

Saying only a small time window remains before the available land access trails become closed in the coming weeks, Mcgoldrick added, "Due to limited ability to conduct deliveries by road and air during the recent monsoon season, a backlog of 1,200 MT of shelter and non-food item supplies is awaiting delivery to earthquake-affected population."

According to him, 80 per cent of the supplies are warehoused in the districts, but acute shortages in fuel supplies continue to impede planned deliveries to affected villages and trailheads for onward transportation using mules and porters.

It is of critical importance to deliver supplies to the trailheads by end of October as the passes in the Himalayas will be at increased risk of being blocked by snowfall, he said.

The humanitarian community is implementing contingencies to address the fuel shortages and to increase its capacity to deliver the supplies within an ever decreasing window of opportunity.