UN concerned as essential supplies to Nepal quake victims hit

The UN has expressed concern over continued blockade of a key border trade point with India that has impeded supply of essential goods to the earthquake survivors in Nepal.

PTI| Updated: Oct 25, 2015, 16:22 PM IST

Kathmandu: The UN has expressed concern over continued blockade of a key border trade point with India that has impeded supply of essential goods to the earthquake survivors in the Himalayan region of Nepal ahead of the winters.

The landlocked country is reeling under acute shortage of fuel due to the blockade that has continued for over a month now and hit supplies of commodities like cooking gas.

"When faced with tough challenges like the monsoon season, landslides and difficult terrain, we are proud of how we have been able to support the Government and people of Nepal and respond to the challenges overall, said Jamie McGoldrick," Jamie Mcgoldrick, UN Resident Representative and Coordinator in Nepal, adding: "But present conditions are a concern."

"Since the end of September, fuel in short supply has impeded progress."

The Humanitarian Country Team has urged the stakeholders for a "quick resolution to the fuel shortage so that winter goods can be quickly delivered to vulnerable households".

This massive logistical undertaking can be achieved, but the lack of fuel is significantly affecting distribution of goods, said the top UN official.

"There is a brief window of fair weather in which humanitarian actors can respond before the snow," he said.

Six months after the devastating earthquakes that shook Nepal in April, shelter and food remain top priorities as winter approaches, says the UN official.

"With the Government of Nepal, humanitarian partners provided emergency shelter to over 700,000 families, but the effect of the coming harsh cold weather is a concern with many people still without permanent durable housing," he added.

Nearly 9,000 people lost their lives and over 5,00,000 houses were destroyed in Nepal by the devastating earthquakes of April 25 and aftershocks.

Nepal has termed as "undeclared blockade" of the key trade point at the border with India by people protesting the controversial newly-promulgated Constitution, mainly by Madhesis - the Indian-origin inhabitants of the Terai region who are opposed to splitting Nepal into seven provinces.