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Monies, Nepal Needs Them for Humanitarian Action

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Nepal needs monies for rehabilitation and reconstruction. The UN's humanitarian arm makes an appeal for US$ 104.5 million to address the needs.

The appeal (Consolidated Appeals Process: Nepal Common Appeal for Transition Support) is issued by the Geneva, Switzerland-based UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. What follows is the summary of the 70-page document:

The majority of Nepal's vulnerable and marginalized populations continues to suffer as political discord over power sharing and elections remains unresolved. In the remote mountain areas of western Nepal, where the conflict was most acute, basic social services are yet to resume. In the southern lowlands region (Tarai), the threat of new conflict comes from emerging new opposition groups.

The peace process experienced more setbacks in 2007, with Constituent Assembly (CA) elections postponed a second time. Elections are now planned for April 2008. In November 2006, the Government of Nepal and the Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist (CPN-Maoist) signed a comprehensive peace agreement ending a ten-year conflict. Nevertheless, the political situation remains fragile, with the withdrawal of CPN-Maoist and other opposition Ministers from the Government. Humanitarian access and freedom of movement continues to be impeded by the numerous politically organized bandha, strikes and protests.

Absence of security guarantees led to almost 500 Government officials resigning en masse from several Eastern and Central Tarai districts in November 2007. Village Development Committee (VDC) Secretaries also threatened to go on a nationwide strike if the security situation does not improve.

The situation in the Tarai continues to deteriorate with an increase in inter-communal tensions. More than 21 opposition groups, several armed, are active in this region. Frequent bandha and highway blockades curb access to health and civil documentation services. Since June 2007, 82 people were killed through conflict. In Eastern Tarai, reports indicate that several hundred families left their homes due to insecurity and threats of violence. In September 2007, riots in Kapilavastu in the Western region triggered new displacements. Some 1,600 internally displaced people (IDPs) remain in camps while over 400 are reportedly displaced along the border with India. An estimated 50,000 - 70,000 people remain displaced nationwide as a result of the 10-year conflict.

Poor humanitarian indicators are pronounced due to the adverse political and climate conditions. Almost half a million people are food insecure as a result of drought and other seasonal disasters. Floods and landslides affected more than 70,000 families in 47 districts in 2007, which is over 60 percent of the country. Global acute malnutrition rates are estimated at 13 percent. The problem is severe in the mountain and hill areas of the Far and Mid-West regions where over 65 percent of the children are stunted and almost 50 percent of the children are underweight.

Many districts in the Tarai are vulnerable to flooding, which increases the risk of water and vector borne disease outbreaks. Cholera and acute diarrhoeal outbreaks were reported in at least five districts in the southern Tarai region in 2007. Sample studies conducted by UNICEF indicated that 50 percent of drinking water is microbiologically contaminated in some Tarai districts and 70 percent of drinking water is contaminated in some hill districts. Only 39 percent of the population of Nepal have access to adequate toilet facilities. Nepal also rates within the top ten countries for the number of civilian casualties of victim-activated explosions. On a positive note, the longstanding refugee issue in Nepal of 107,000 Bhutanese refugees, who relied on international humanitarian aid since 1990, is finally reaching resolution. Third country resettlement will begin in 2008, with an estimated 20,000 refugees to be resettled on an annual basis.

The chronic vulnerability of the majority of Nepal's population due to conflict and seasonal disasters require urgent humanitarian action. In order to meet these needs, the Common Appeal for Transition Support was elaborated with the following strategic priorities:

- Improve monitoring and response to needs and protection concerns of the people affected by conflict, internal disturbances and natural disasters;
- Provide timely and effective humanitarian services for the most vulnerable population — where possible, linked to longer-term initiatives;
- Ensure complementarity and coherence between humanitarian assistance and existing development and peace-building efforts.

To achieve the strategic priorities for 2008, the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) in Nepal is appealing for US$ 104.5 million for 61 projects, to address urgent needs in Emergency Food Security and Nutrition, Protection, Children Affected by Armed Conflict, Mine Action, Emergency Health, IDPs, Multi-Sector (refugees), Natural Disaster Preparedness and Response, and Coordination. Partners have indicated that $3.4 million is already available for their proposed projects, leaving an outstanding requirement of $101.1 million.

Some basic facts about Nepal
Population - 26.4 million people (*Projected - Central Bureau of Statistics 2007)
Under five mortality - 61 p/1,000 live births (Demographic Health Survey 2006)
Life expectancy - 62.6 years (UNDP HDR 2007)
Gross national income per capita - $290 (World Development Database Indicators 2007)
Percentage of population living on less than $1 per day - 24.1 percent (UNDP HDR 2007)
IDPs - 50-70,000 (IDP working group estimates, 2007)
Refugees - 130,000 Bhutanese and Tibetan refugees
ECHO Vulnerability and Crisis Index Score (V/C) - 2/3 (severe rank)
2007 Human Development Index score - 0.534: 142nd of 177 - medium

Statistics particular to Nepal
500,000 people food-insecure as a result of drought, floods and landslides (WFP 2007)
90 new civilian casualties from victim-activated explosions in 2007 (UNICEF 2007)
Global Acute Malnutrition in children under 5 is at 13 percent (Demographic Health Survey 2006)

To read the full 70-page document (in PDF format), click here.


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Brihát Śhānti Sámjhautā, 2006
(Comprehensive Peace Agreement)

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