Nepal's major political
parties continue to clash over who will lead the county's new majority
government, following last week's resignation of the Himalayan country's Maoist
prime minister. The ongoing political instability is hard felt in a food-deficit
country that is already vulnerable to food insecurity and malnutrition.
Nepal's history of political instability - amplified by last week's
resignation of the country's Maoist Prime Minister - means continued food
shortages for Nepal's rural poor.
WFP Country Director Richard Ragan says
Nepal's recent political chaos has "thrown fuel on the fire," in a country
already suffering from massive food shortages. Recent parliamentary disruption
has the World Food Program working overtime to find non-governmental ways to
continue to feed two million of Nepal's most needy citizens.
situation where there is not a government in place, then you have to be able to
use different instruments to respond to needs," said Richard
According to a recent U.N. report, every other child under five in
Nepal is chronically malnourished. The World Food Program employs about 400
trucks daily to distribute essential food and supplies.
Many are blocked
by political protests - known as "Bandhs." This is especially common in western
Nepal near the border with India, where last month an ethnic group known as
Tharu blocked roads and closed businesses for two weeks. Last year, 550 Bandhs
rocked Nepal, costing the country an estimated $8 million a day.
WFP's Ragan says because of war-time agreements food distribution was easier in
the days before such protests, when the country was engaged in its 10-year civil
Ragan says this has left many of Nepal's rural poor waiting for
their peace dividend in a new democracy plagued by growing pains.
was a lot of hope once the peace process was initiated that some sense of
normalcy would return to people's lives, and people are still waiting," he
Nepal is ranked the poorest country in South Asia.