ஐக்கிய நாடுகள் உலக உணவு நிறுவனம் சுமார் 2.5 மில்லியன் நேபாளிகளுக்கு உடனடி உணவு வழங்கப்பட வேண்டும் என்று கோரிக்கை விடுத்துள்ளது.
காரணம் கடந்த பத்தாண்டுகளில் மாவோயிஸ்டு வன்முறையால், 13000 பேர்கள் கொல்லப்பட்டுள்ளனர். சுமார் 2,00,000 பேர்கள் தங்கள் வாழ்விடங்களிலிருந்து துரத்தப்பட்டுள்ளனர். இதனால் விவசாயம் சீரழிந்து விட்டது.
Food crisis looms as Nepal Maoists set to take power
Wed Jun 25, 2008 7:04pm IST Email | Print | Share| Single Page[-] Text [+]
By Gopal Sharma
KATHMANDU (Reuters) - About 2.5 million Nepalis need immediate food assistance and 3.9 million others are at risk of becoming food insecure because of rising prices, the United Nations food agency said on Wednesday.
The state-owned Nepal Oil Corporation raised the price of petrol and diesel by about 25 percent this month to raise money to pay for increased fuel imports as global prices rise.
But the move triggered street protests and a national shut down of transport for two days as rising transport costs pushed food prices higher.
"While the rising food prices are causing belt-tightening across the globe, its most devastating effects are in developing countries like Nepal where there is the added dimension of a place emerging from a 10-year conflict," said Richard Ragan, the Nepal chief of the U.N. World Food Programme.
"Here, belt tightening means, 'do I have an evening meal or a morning meal?" he said. "In some cases, it means will I be able to eat at all today?"
A Maoist civil war raged in Nepal for more than a decade causing more than 13,000 deaths since 1996, forcing 200,000 to flee their homes and devastating infrastructure in areas like agriculture.
Rising food and fuel prices are forcing ordinary Nepalis to spend more and more on food, according to WFP. Nearly one third of Nepalis live on a daily income of less than a dollar.
Even before the recent hike in fuel prices, the cost of cooking oil, coarse rice and kerosene, common items for most Nepalis, has risen 30 percent, 23 percent and 17 percent respectively over the past six months.
"All this is going to go up even more now after the oil price increase," another WFP official said.
Rising food prices could have "disastrous" effects on Nepal's achievements in health and poverty reduction, Ragan said.
"Considering the impact of rising food prices, the poverty rate could grow from 31 percent to 50 percent and malnutrition rates are likely to rise significantly," Ragan said.
He said rising food and fuel prices were constraining WFP's efforts to provide food assistance to more than the two million served now.
Nepal's Maoist former rebels won a surprise victory in the April elections for a constituent assembly on promises to build a new Nepal and are expected to form a government soon.
"People are clearly tense and they expect a great deal out of the new government," Ragan said. "I'm concerned about how people will react when they can only afford one meal a day."