UN rejects allegation of distributing substandard food in Nepal
The UN today rejected media reports that World Food Programme (WFP) has distributed substandard food to the survivors of devastating earthquake on April 25 and subsequent aftershocks.
"It is totally wrong and nonsense to make allegations by the local media that the WFP had distributed substandard foods to the earthquake affected people," director of Coordination and Response Division of the UN Office of the Humanitarian Affairs John Ging said here today.
"The food distributed by the WFP were thoroughly checked before distributing them and maintained high standard," Ging claimed, while talking to media before wrapping up his three-day visit to Nepal. However, the food distributed by the WFP has been repeatedly found substandard after the investigation of not only the lawmakers but also government's food quality control agency. The lawmakers have asked the government to take action against the UN food agency for putting the people's lives at risk by distributing substandard rice.
UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Nepal Jamie McGoldrick and Ging travelled to Sindhupalchowk district to visit affected areas and assess the progress of the ongoing humanitarian response.
Ging also met top officials including deputy prime minister and minister for Home Affairs Bamdev Gautam, finance minister Dr Ramsharan Mahat, foreign minister Mahendra Bahadur Pandey and discussed about UN relief operations in Nepal and post earthquake reconstruction.
Ging said that 2.1 million people in Nepal received food supply under the UN's humanitarian assistance and temporary shelters were provided to 1.8 million people who were rendered homeless after the earthquakes.
The UN has accorded top priority to supply food, shelter and other necessary materials to the earthquake affected people in the wake of the upcoming monsoon season, he said, welcoming the political parties' move to speed up the task of drafting the constitution by forging agreement among them on key issues.
Two months after the first of the back-to-back earthquakes hit Nepal, more than 2.8 million people in 14 districts remain in need of immediate humanitarian assistance, he said, adding that provision of temporary shelter, food and livelihoods support, basic medical care, sanitation and hygiene as well as protection remain
top priorities for the response. "Humanitarians are now well-positioned to assist all the affected communities, including those perchedon the high mountain slopes, thanks to the many innovative aid delivery methods, including cashbased interventions and porters, and logistical solutions put in place. He also said that funding is crucial for thehumanitarian community to continue to meet the needs, but it remains limited. "Support of the international community, in particular technical and financial partners, is crucial forhumanitarian actors to be able to keep on responding timely and adequately," Ging said, "Effective, needs-basedrelief and recovery are the key prerequisite for any reconstruction effort to be successful, and as suchmust continue to be supported even as the immediate relief phase winds down and reconstructionefforts accelerate.
If the humanitarian needs are not addressed immediately, he suspected that much of the development progress made todate will be lost, many existing and underlying vulnerabilities will be exacerbated beyond the
emergency thresholds, and communities will lose their ability to withstand any additional shocks such as these brought by the cold and damp monsoon season.
He also expressed satisfaction over the overwhelming response shown by the international communities, who pledged $4.4 billion for Nepal's reconstruction during the Internation Conference on Nepal's Reconstruction (ICNR) recently held in Kathmandu.