Tonnes of relief materials ‘rot’ in Mechi warehouses

- PARBAT PORTEL, Kakadbhitta

May 16, 2015-

Relief materials, pouring into the earthquake-affected areas from overseas, especially food items have started ‘rotting’ in warehouses due to lack of proper distribution mechanism.

Rice sent in as relief from Bangladesh has started decaying at the Mechi dry port after the rain water seeped into the containers and that stored in the warehouse. “The wet rice has started emanating foul smell,” said Ganesh Pokhrel, a staff at the Nepal Food Corporation (NFC), blaming the authorities for their failure to promptly allocate and distribute relief materials in the quake-hit areas.

Of the 10,000 metric tonnes of rice that the Bangladesh government has dispatched in relief for the quake victims, approximately 8,500 metric tonnes has reached Nepal until Saturday. But the NFC has had difficult time storing them. According to the NFC, four warehouses in Birtamod, two in Chandragadhi and two in Kakadbhitta have been stocked to the brim.

Amid technical difficulties over unloading the relief materials, Nepali Ambassador to Bangladesh Hari Kumar Shrestha had requested the District Disaster Management Committee (DDMC) to distribute the relief and return the trucks immediately after unloading the relief materials. “The sole wish of the Bangladeshi government is to provide relief to the quake victims as soon as possible,” said Shrestha, appealing the government to facilitate relief distribution process.

However, NFC Deputy General Manager Nabaraj Upadhyaya said it would take a year for the relief materials to reach the victims if they were to complete all the formalities in line with the Public Procurement Act (PPA). “The problem lies with the rigid PPA. The government should have opted a fast track mechanism instead at time of emergencies like this,” Upadhyaya said.

As 10,000 metric tones of rice could not be stored in Jhapa alone, Upadhyaya said he had suggested that they be sent to NFC warehouses in Lahan, Biratnagar and Birgunj considering to facilitate the distribution process.

Chief District Officer Tej Prasad Poudel said that he had drawn the government’s attention towards the issue.

Meanwhile, Ambassador Shrestha said the Bangladeshi government had sent in nine more trucks laden with relief materials including essential medicines, blankets, clothes, juice, dry food. Although the materials arrived on Friday, they are yet to be sent to the affected areas.

Published: 17-05-2015 08:17

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