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Former President Carter's Home-building Trip to Nepal Canceled

  • Reuters

FILE - Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter speaks during a forum in Boston, Aug. 12, 2015.

FILE - Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter speaks during a forum in Boston, Aug. 12, 2015.

Citing civil unrest, a humanitarian group on Thursday canceled a home-building trip next month to Nepal that was to have included former President Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalynn.

Atlanta-based Habitat for Humanity International scrapped the trip scheduled for November 1-6, called the Jimmy & Rosalynn Carter Work Project, in the South Asian nation's Chitwan District.

"Nepal has been experiencing civil unrest due to the country's recent announcement of its new constitution," the non-profit group that builds homes for low-income people said in a statement.

Carter, 91, who was U.S. president from 1977-1981, had planned to go on the trip as a volunteer despite his recent diagnosis of cancer that has spread to his brain. Carter, who played a key role in Middle East peace negotiations during his presidency and also won a Nobel Peace Prize in 2002, has been a long-time volunteer with the charity.

Habitat has been closely monitoring the situation in Nepal and concluded, "new circumstances have proven to be safety risks for volunteers and staff," the organization's statement said.

Drivers wait in a line to fill up their vehicles with fuel near a gasoline pump as the fuel crisis continues in Kathmandu, Nepal, Oct. 1, 2015.

Drivers wait in a line to fill up their vehicles with fuel near a gasoline pump as the fuel crisis continues in Kathmandu, Nepal, Oct. 1, 2015.

Shipment of many goods and materials such as gasoline, diesel, jet fuel and cooking fuel, as well as food and medical supplies-have been halted or slowed to a "critical point, hindering Habitat's capacity to effectively and safely execute the planned project," the organization said.

The U.S. Embassy in Kathmandu on Thursday recommended that potential travelers evaluate their plans, warning that "the situation could change drastically during your trip."

Expressing disappointment in the cancellation, Carter said in a statement that he and Rosalynn support the decision.

"We will keep the people of Nepal in our prayers and ask everyone to do the same," the former president said. "We look forward to our ongoing work with Habitat and continuing to help shine the light on the need for affordable housing."

On Wednesday, Nepal was considering air-lifting fuel, possibly from Bangladesh, as supply routes from India were blocked by protesters opposing the new constitution.

Thousands of trucks were stranded at the border with India, the main supply route into landlocked Nepal, causing a critical shortage of fuel in the country.

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