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WFP Launches $49 Million Appeal in Support of Nepal Peace Process


The U.N.'s World Food Program is appealing for $49 million to help more than a million people affected by a decade of conflict. The WFP says the money will help support the new peace deal between the government and the former Maoist rebels. Liam Cochrane has more from Kathmandu.

The World Food Program has launched what it says is one of the largest U.N. initiatives to support the people of Nepal during the country's transition to democracy.

Nepal ended a 10-year civil war in November between Maoist rebels and the government. More than 13,000 people died, hundreds of thousands were displaced and living conditions remain poor for more than a million people.

WFP Nepal representative, Richard Ragan, says it will take $49 million to provide immediate food assistance and rebuild critical infrastructure.

"The idea behind our new program is that we want to directly focus on 28 districts in the country which have been most impacted by the conflict," said Ragan.

The initiative plans to spend $17 million delivering food by helicopter and by porters to remote areas. But it also aims to help rebuild bridges, roads and schools, create jobs and return the displaced.

Ragan says the Nepalese people need to see the dividends of peace quickly if it is to last.

"They've gone through one year of time since the people movement," said Ragan. "They've got elections coming up, scheduled in November, so it's important that they start to see tangible results that are results of their new status as a country moving towards democracy."

The World Food Program is hoping for financial support from donors such as the United States, Britain and several Scandinavian nations.

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