Mid-Year Review of the Humanitarian Transition Appeal for Nepal 2009

21 July 2009

Significant humanitarian needs remain in Nepal due to a combination of national and global factors: a particularly severe winter drought, ongoing civil and political tensions, chronic underlying vulnerabilities, and susceptibility to sudden-onset natural disasters, compounded by the global financial, fuel, and food crises of the recent months.

Food insecurity in Nepal is widespread and pervasive, and has resulted in some of the worst nutrition statistics in the world.  More than 40% of the population is undernourished.  Every other child under five is chronically malnourished, 39% are underweight, and 13% are wasted.  In recent years the number of people facing hunger in Nepal has increased as a result of frequent and severe natural disasters combined with the effects of the food, fuel, and financial crises.  In December 2008, 2.7 million people were identified as requiring urgent food assistance.  Following a joint Government of Nepal and UN assessment undertaken in May 2009, an additional 707,000 individuals were identified as requiring urgent food assistance due to drought-induced failure of winter crops and high food prices. 

Preparedness activities are an integral part of the Government and humanitarian strategy to avert and mitigate loss of life and livelihoods.  In Nepal, high risk and vulnerability to hazards such as earthquakes, floods, and landslides adds to the humanitarian challenge and calls for immediate action and funding by the donor community to implement measures to alleviate the impact of sudden-onset emergencies.

Major political issues remain unresolved despite successful Constituent Assembly (CA) elections held in April 2008.  A political crisis within the ruling Government Coalition in April/May 2009 saw the resignation of Prime Minister Puspa Kamal Dahal “Prachanda” on 4 May, ending the nine-month-old government.  A new Prime Minister was elected by the Legislature-Parliament (boycotted by the UCPN-Maoists) on 23 May. A coalition government of 22 political parties is currently being established.  Slow progress in appointments to the new Council of Ministers and potential re-shuffling of senior civil servants will affect the pace of Government business.  It remains unclear whether these changes will affect the timetable for the preparation of the new Constitution. 

 In addition, the country is faced with prolonged disruptions in the movement of goods due to intermittent unrest in Terai-Madhes, daily electricity cuts lasting up to 16 hours, and deteriorating labour relations.  With weak institutions and widespread impunity, growing lawlessness remains a threat in parts of the country.  This threat exists against a backdrop of nutrition and morbidity indicators that remain at emergency levels.

To date the response to the Appeal across sectors/clusters has been uneven.  The Food Security Cluster is 62% funded, whilst the 12 other sectors/clusters and sub-sectors combined are only 17% funded.  During the Mid-Year Review (MYR) consultations, the Humanitarian Country Team (HCT) agreed that the three priorities set at the beginning of the year were still valid (Response, Preparedness and Partnership).  However, to stabilize the humanitarian situation, projects for food assistance to the food- insecure and disaster preparedness activities to respond to seasonal monsoon-induced floods and landslides should be given priority. 

As a result of the drought in the Mid- and Far West, the 2009 Nepal Humanitarian Transition Appeal has been revised upwards by US$[1]30 million to $145 million (from the original $115 million).  To date, $74 million in funding has been reported, leaving unmet requirements of $71 million.  The revised amount represents increases attributed to the addition of 12 new and revised projects, mainly to cover additional food security needs.  A number of other budgets have been decreased due to the reduced implementation period remaining in 2009.  The donor community is encouraged to give urgent consideration to the appeal projects that remain un- or under-funded.

[1]All dollar signs in this document denote United States dollars.  Funding for this appeal should be reported to the Financial Tracking Service (FTS, fts@reliefweb.int), which will display its requirements and funding on the current appeals page. 

Document History

21 July 2009

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