Humla, Nepal – Humla district, a remote area which lies in the northwestern part of Nepal, has been suffering from food shortage for more than a decade due to lack of access and corruption.
The region perched at an altitude of 2,910 metres in the Himalayas bordering the Tibetan Autonomous Region produces little food to support the local population. The annual demand for food is 9,823 metric tonne, but Humla was able to produce only 1,462 metric tonne during 2011-2012, according to Nepal’s government.
The South Asian country’s effort to provide food to Humla, one of the most isolated regions in the world, has done more harm than good to the local dwellers.
The Nepal Food Corporation, a government entity, is supposed to deliver 1,200 metric tonne of rice to the people in the region, but the effort gets marred due to massive corruption.
It is one of the reasons that the Human Development Index of Humla is one of the lowest in the country. Four out of 10 children in Humla suffer from malnutrition, according to recent government reports.
Humalese have to pay Rs 50 ($0.5) for a kilo of rice and they are offered mere 5 kilo of rice every month, depending on the food availability, which leaves most of the population half-fed for almost six months.
“We are bound to put our children to sleep without being able to feed them at times twice or even thrice a month,” Rani Pariyar, a local resident told Al Jazeera.
The rugged terrain and lack of transportation facilities demands the food to be transported by planes or helicopters.
The residents of this area traverse miles on foot only to return empty-handed.
Moga Bohara, who came to Simikot – the district headquarters – after walking for three days, told Al Jazeera that she waited outside the department for six days, but she wasn’t able to get the food grains.
“I have come from very far to Simikot, but even after coming here I am unable to get rice,” Moga, 58, said. “I got one sack of rice only after 10 days.”
Follow Rajneesh Bhandari on Twitter: @RajneeshB