The UK Department for International Development (DfID) has made a contribution of £2 million (Rs 326.8 million) to the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) in Nepal to boost national capacity to respond to a major earthquake in the Kathmandu Valley.
"As the lead of the Logistics Cluster for the humanitarian community, WFP needs to be ready to provide the transportation and communications support to allow national and international aid actors to respond in the event of a major earthquake,” said WFP country director in Nepal Nicole Menage.
Kathmandu is considered by experts to be the world’s most at-risk city to a major earthquake. Rapid urbanisation, high-density and poorly planned construction, and limited adherence to building codes, have substantially increased the vulnerability of the Kathmandu Valley. The predicted loss of life, displacement and damage to infrastructure is likely to require a humanitarian response on the scale of the one seen in Haiti in 2010.
“We are thankful for this substantial grant from DfID, which shows great foresight,” Menage said, adding that investing in preparedness measures now will save money and lives when the time comes for an emergency response. "The UK is pleased to be able to support Nepal’s preparedness for a major disaster," head of DfID Nepal Gail Marzetti said, adding that WFP bring global logistical expertise and are ideally placed to support Nepal’s preparedness effort, which will undoubtedly save many lives should an event strike.WFP’s plan for strengthening emergency logistics and communications structures in the Kathmandu Valley has been developed in coordination with national and international stakeholders, and is consistent with government priorities. It envisages the development of staging areas in the Kathmandu Valley for the reception of large volumes of aid by air and road, prepositioning of smaller humanitarian staging areas within the Kathmandu metropolitan area to allow for the flow of aid to heavily affected areas, assessments and improvements of government warehouses within the Kathmandu Valley to facilitate access to food stocks and other relief items and training of key staff from partners and government agencies in supply chain management and emergency operations.