The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has joined hands with Trekking Agencies’ Association of Nepal (TAAN) and Nepal Mountaineering Association (NMA) to transport humanitarian assistance to far-flung villages in six earthquake-affected districts – Gorkha, Dhading, Rasuwa, Nuwakot, Sindhupalchowk and Dolakha.
TAAN will work for the provision of logistic services in four districts – Gorkha, Dhading, Rasuwa and Nuwakot, while NMA will look after two districts – Dolakha and Sindhupalchowk, WFP officials told a press meet in Kathmandu on May 28.
TAAN is beginning its works in Dhading immediately as a pilot project, while NMA will begin its work in Dolakha district as a pilot project.
As per the agreement, WFP will deliver humanitarian cargo to mutually agreed locations where the porter services will commence expeditions. These locations, referred to as ‘Base Camps,’ will be located in areas accessible by road or by large helicopter, and will be agreed upon by TAAN, NMA and WFP prior to commencement of operations. Similarly, WFP, in consultation with TAAN and NMA, will be responsible for determining the amount of cargo to be delivered to each location. TAAN and NMA will use mobilize workers, including tourism workers who have lost livelihood due to early conclusion of tourist season because of the earthquake, to clear trails and transport WFP’s assistance to all families in the affected villages in coordination with secretaries of concerned ward offices.
Commenting on the agreement, Richard Ragan, WFP Emergency Coordinator for the Earthquake Response in Nepal, said: “This is a unique effort by the World Food Programme. Together, we’re opening up trails that have been made inaccessible so we can deliver food and much-needed relief supplies and we’re employing a large labor force of porters who have lost their livelihoods as a result of the early conclusion of the tourist season.”
Similarly, TAAN President Ramesh Prasad Dhamala said the program will help in tourism recovery by opening blocked community trails and providing livelihood to local community as well as deliver humanitarian assistance to affected people. He further added that TAAN would implement the program by maintaining transparency and following existing rules and regulations.
NMA President Ang Tshering Sherpa thanked WFP for entering into a partnership with TAAN and NMA for providing humanitarian assistance to people in hilly and mountain areas of the country which have suffered the most from the earthquake.
The devastating earthquake of April 25 has claimed more than 8,000 lives, destroyed more than 300,000 houses and rendered hundreds and thousands of people homeless. Though the government and different organizations have been distributing humanitarian assistance in different quake-affected districts, many villages, which do not have access to roads, are yet to get sufficient relief materials. It is becoming difficult to distribute relief material in these villages as community trails in these villages have been destroyed by the earthquake.