WFP rice for Gorkha rotten

- DEWAN RAI, SUDIP KAINI, Kathmandu/Gorkha
WFP rice for Gorkha rotten

Jun 18, 2015-

The rice distributed to earthquake survivors by the World Food Programme (WFP) in Laprak VDC of Gorkha has been found to be rotten.

Villagers said that 40 sacks of rice transported on two tractors were found to be rotten. “When we opened the sacks, we found lumps of rice that had turned black,” said Marsingh Gurung, a local. “We have asked them to take back the spoilt rice.”

The incident came to light after Shree Bahadur Gurung, a local, shared the images of the substandard rice on his Facebook page on Wednesday. Some villagers have returned the rice they had received in relief. According to an official, 100 of the 905 sacks of rice stored for Barpak, Laprak and Gumda VDCs were unfit for consumption.

WFP said it had investigated the consignment delivered to the earthquake-affected communities in Laprak this week and found that some of the food was damaged by rains during transport.

“As soon as the problem was identified, WFP’s distribution partner, the Nepal Red Cross Society, inspected the bags, separated the affected bags from the rest and continued with distribution,” said Iolanda Jaquemet, the WFP communication officer.

According to Jaquemet, the UN agency is going to replace 120 bags of the damaged rice and take up the matter with the transporter. However, locals said there was no rain in the past two days. They said the rice was old and had decayed in the sacks for long.

As the sacks bear the WFP logo, locals are scared to eat the rice of the same batch even if it looked alright. Chief District Officer Uddhav Timilsina said the administration had enquired the agency after the locals complained of poor quality.

This is not the first time that the WFP has been linked to substandard food supplies. Since the April 25 earthquake, such complaints have come from other quake-hit districts too. Last month, the National Human Rights Commission asked the government to take legal action against the WFP and Red Cross for distributing inedible rice to the quake-hit people after its monitoring found the supplies rotten.

Following complaints of people falling sick after eating such rice, the Prime Minister’s Office on Tuesday directed government officials to distribute food received from various countries and institutions only after conducting proper laboratory tests.

Published: 19-06-2015 07:53

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