The UN\'s World Food Programme is planning its first ever emergency food operation in Nepal to counter severe drought in the Karnali and neighbouring districts. The three-month plan, likely to be approved in Rome this week, envisions 3,800 tonnes of rice and flour being delivered by trucks, mules and porters, WFP Deputy Country Director Jean-Pierre de Margerie told us.
"We\'re trying to borrow food from other projects so we can maybe do a first wave of deliveries mid-June," added de Margerie.
Three WFP on-the-ground assessments found that 70 VDCs in10 districts are "severely affected" with crop failures of 75-100 percent, according to the official.
"People are starting to resort to damaging coping mechanisms," he said. "They\'re starting to cut the number of meals or the size of meals," selling livestock and tools and even migrating.
In February and March, French NGO Action Contre la Faim visited Mugu and Humla to assess the health situation, particularly of children.
"It can be concluded that the acute malnutrition in the 10 surveyed VDCs is more alarming than expected and is an issue that needs to be addressed in terms of treatment and also in terms of prevention," says the newly released report of that mission.
ACF adds that its findings deny the belief that acute malnutrition is more prevalent in the tarai. "Higher acute malnutrition prevalence has been found in Humla and Mugu compared to the national rate."
De Margerie said the WFP emergency operation will include fortified wheat flour for families with children under two and pregnant or nursing mothers, along with allotments of rice at the start and end of a 20-day food for work programme.