3 August 2007The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) is sending up to three months worth of emergency rations to some 60,000 flood victims in Nepal after incessant rains over the past three weeks wrought havoc across the Himalayan country. “In response to the Government’s request for humanitarian assistance, we are making available an initial $500,000 for procurement of immediate food assistance,” WFP country representative Richard Ragan said.“However, given the number of families affected and the remoteness of the impacted areas, we estimate that we will need to raise approximately $1.5million to meet the basic food requirements of the flood victims,” he added.An estimated 200,000 people currently face food shortages due to displacement, loss of livelihoods and damaged homes. WFP’s initial response is based on needs identified by the Government and the Red Cross. The agency will work closely with both partners over the next few days to identify the people and communities most in need of aid, providing sufficient rice, lentils, oil and salt to feed 60,000 people for 90 days.“Given that many of these affected areas are located within the Eastern Terai – districts that have been impacted by months of violence and insecurity – we appeal to all parties to support WFP’s efforts to deliver food aid to the most vulnerable communities within these areas,” Mr. Ragan said.Clashes between the Madheshi People’s Rights Forum (MPRF) and the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) in the central Terai region have claimed scores of lives in recent months.Food, drinking water and temporary shelter have been identified as the major needs in the flood-stricken areas. There is a heightened risk of increased deaths and illness in the coming weeks and months due to outbreaks of communicable diseases, most importantly acute respiratory infections, diarrhoeal diseases, vector-borne diseases and snake bites.UN agencies are already providing water purification tablets and of oral rehydration salts as well as tarpaulins, water buckets and blankets, while UN Mission in Nepal (UNMIN) helicopters have flown in rescue teams from the Nepal Army, police and Red Cross. UN agencies have also been providing emergency aid such as basic sanitation, safe drinking water, medicine and shelter materials in India and Bangladesh, which together with Nepal have suffered from the worst monsoon rains in South Asia in years, with flooding reportedly killing hundreds of people and affecting at least 20 million others. Meanwhile, in Pakistan UNICEF is providing school supplies for thousands of children and trying to help reopen hundreds of schools in time for the new year, which begins in mid-August, after floods caused by cyclone Yemyin in late June washed away more than 200 schools. Many that remain are either under water or being used as shelters.