WFP withdraws rotten rice, 133 Laprak households get fresh supply

WFP withdraws rotten rice, 133 Laprak households get fresh supply

World Food Program (WFP) on Thursday brought back 120 sacks of rotten rice from Laprak VDC. The UN agency has also distributed fresh rice to 133 households in Laprak.

WFP has brought back the rotten rice following widespread concern over the distribution of substandard foodstuff in the quake-hit areas of the country.

Subhash Ghimire, a staffer with the Red Cross Society Gorkha district chapter, informed that the substandard rice will be stored separately at Deurali VDC.

Fresh rice has been distributed to 133 households which had earlier remained deprived of food succor as the rice brought to Laprak was found rotten, according to Ghimire.
The rotten rice brought back from Laprak will be destroyed in the presence of district-based political leaders, acording to WFP officials.

Earlier, 120 sacks of rice out of a total of 417 sacks meant for distribution to 500 households in Laprak VDC were found to be rotten.

Meanwhile, Laprak locals have expressed dismay over the statement of John Ging, director of Coordination and Response Division of the UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

During a press meet on Wednesday, Ging, who is Nepal to meet the affected communities and aid agencies following the recent earthquake, claimed that food distributed to the quake victims was not of substandard quality as reported in the media.

“But rotten rice from WFP was distributed to us. We ate the substandard rice,” said Santosh Gurung, a Laprak local. He further said that WFP officials could interview the locals in this connection.

“We even have with us the images and videos with proof of substandard rice,” Gurung claimed.

WFP distributed rotten rice: Dhakal
Bhanubhakta Dhakal, team leader of the parliamentary sub-committee formed to probe the WFP rotten rice issue in Gorkha

A parliamentary probe team under my leadership had reached Laprak, Gorkha and examined sacks of rice sent there by the World Food Program (WFP) for earthquake victims. Representatives of the security agencies, VDC secretaries, civil society members and other organizations concerned were present at the site during our inspection. Meanwhile, WFP officials also reached the site by helicopter. They promised to immediately replace the sacks of rotten rice with fresh rice.

We had found 120 sacks of rotten rice which was stinking. Tests of a sample of the rotten rice back in the capital after our visit also showed that the rice was substandard and thus inedible. The probe report submitted to parliament’s special committee led by Speaker Subas Nembag has confirmed that WFP distributed rotten rice in Gorkha.

After that, we invited the agriculture minister to the special committee meeting and directed him to seek clarifications from WFP through the Foreign Ministry as to why and how it distributed rotten rice to the quake victims, and to ask the UN body not to repeat such mistakes. WFP officials might have been irked at not being allowed to distribute whatever kind of foodstuff they wanted.

Source: eKantipur