After a decade of unstable governments and armed conflicts, law and order are still tenuous at best in Nepal, where a culture of impunity persists. This South Asian nation of some 30 million inhabitants is beset with a range of development and humanitarian challenges, from endemic poverty to widespread undernutrition, and ranks 157th out of 187 countries in the U.N.’s 2011 Human Development Index.
Nepal’s humanitarian challenges stem from a confluence of factors including routine inflation, rising food prices, and recurring climate shocks like droughts, floods, and landslides. Undernutrition is a significant, widespread problem in Nepal, with nearly 30% of all children under five years of age suffering from the condition in 2011. Geographic constraints and poor governance contribute to the persistence of Nepal’s high rates of malnutrition, as do poverty, development gaps, armed conflicts, poor hygiene and care practices, insufficient household food consumption, and widespread vitamin deficiencies. Thirty-two districts in Nepal were classified as food insecure in 2010 by the U.N.’s World Food Program, representing nearly 3.5 million inhabitants who struggle to secure regular access to adequate food.
Action Against Hunger reopened its mission in Nepal in 2011 to develop nutrition and health programs to address Nepal’s endemic childhood malnutrition, collaborating closely with the Nepalese Health and Population Ministry. Our current efforts in the Terrai region have provided nutritional care for some 4,000 individuals, and we’re expanding our efforts to help meet the country’s significant nutritional needs.