KATHMANDU: Amid media reports of senior UN officials threatening to pull the World Food Programme out of Nepal, the UN food agency has said it will stay by the side of Nepalis, “working hand in hand with the government” to support the ongoing recovery efforts.
WFP has been in Nepal for over 50 years, bringing essential food to the most vulnerable, and it will continue to assist the country in the future, WFP Country Director Pippa Bradford said in a statement on Friday.
The WFP has been under scanner for repeated complaints of poor quality of its supplies and its reluctance to provide details about how it stores the goods and how they are transported to the beneficiaries.
Meanwhile in Gorkha WFP recalled the damaged rice distributed to the earthquake victims in Laprak VDC of Gorkha. The rice sacks were taken to the WFP warehouse in Deurali on Thursday, locals confirmed.
The UN agency has also replaced the rice, said a local, Marsingh Gurung.
The rice distributed in Laprak to the quake victims in mid-June was found unfit for consumption which was later confirmed by the WFP as well.
A parliamentary probe team had also concluded that the rice was rotten. The government has since asked the concerned authorities to take action against WFP officials.
The WFP has been distributing rice to earthquake victims in coordination with Save the Children and Red Cross Society.
Meanwhile, Laprak locals have taken exception to the comment of John Ging, the director at UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affair , that the Nepali media published ‘nonsense reports’ on the issue.
“The allegations made should be taken back,” said Santosh Gurung, a local leader of Nepali Congress.
Rejected WFP pulses in warehouse
In a related incident meanwhile in CHITWAN, a Ratnanagar-based godown was found storing ‘substandard’ pulses that WFP had rejected.
Police have since sealed the warehouse of the Dantakali Store run by Kanhaiyalal Rathi at Ratnanagar-4.
“We found sacks of pulses with the logo of the WFP in the godown. We suspect that the godown owner intended to sell the rejected pulses in the market,” said Chief District Officer (CDO) Binod Prakash Singh.
He further said that the WFP admitted its mistake of returning the pulses with its logo on the sacks.
Rathi and his employee at the godown Ramavatar Sharma were briefly detained for investigation.
The investigation suggests that the WFP had purchased the pulses from Parwanipur-based Dhanalaxmi Pulses Mill in Bara.
The UN agency had later rejected the purchase after a sack was found infested with weevils.
Superintendent of Police Sahakul Bahadur Thapa said the pulses were brought to a godown in Bharatpur on Wednesday. – From ekanthipur.com