Working with local governments and farmers’ cooperatives, Heifer International has provided relief supplies to 11,000 families recovering from flooding that has ravaged Nepal’s biggest food-producing region.
The monsoon rains have submerged about 80 percent of the nation’s southern agricultural belt, washing away livestock and the recently planted rice crop. More than 21,000 farming families working with Heifer have been affected.
“Although the rain has stopped and the flood waters are receding, life is still extremely challenging for families,” said Sumnima Shrestha, a spokeswoman for Heifer in Nepal. “People have to rebuild their houses, replace their livestock and replant their fields. A lot of support will be needed to help tens of thousands of families recover.”
In coordination with the government’s relief effort, Heifer has provided supplies to 11,000 families – about 58,500 people – in eight districts in the flood zone. The supplies have included 375,000 pounds of rice, 34,000 pounds of flour, 3,400 gallons of cooking oil and 47,000 packets of noodles.
A key force in the flood relief effort has been farmer cooperatives that Heifer has helped establish in the region. The organizations – which can include a few hundred members to more than a 1,000 – serve as business hubs, providing veterinary care, fertilizers and financial services. They also give farmers better access to markets and greater bargaining power when negotiating prices for their crops and livestock.
When a major disaster strikes, the cooperatives can quickly mobilize to help their fellow farmers. Heifer has been working closely with 35 of the groups that are making a great impact.
“The cooperatives have taken the lead on the ground. They are farmers helping farmers,” said Neena Joshi, the director of programs for Heifer in Nepal. “They’re legally registered bodies, led by local people, and they have great connections with local government and disaster officials. They provide the best structure that assures the aid is reaching the right people.”
ABOUT HEIFER INTERNATIONAL
Heifer’s mission is to end hunger and poverty while caring for the Earth. For more than 70 years, Heifer International has provided livestock and environmentally sound agricultural training to improve the lives of those who struggle daily for reliable sources of food and income. Heifer is currently working in nearly 30 countries, including the United States, to help families and communities become more self-reliant. Heifer’s goal is to help 4 million families achieve living incomes by 2020, which will allow them to feed their families daily; educate all their children; and have proper housing, water, hygiene and other essential resources. For information, visit Heifer.org, read our blog, follow us on Facebook, on Twitter or call 888.5HUNGER (888.548.6437).