Recent reports indicate that the 3F (fuel, food and finance) crisis is impacting Nepal heavily, with many families taking children out of school to work as well as reducing expenditure on educational materials. In addition, child malnutrition rates remain high, with acute malnutrition (or wasting) affecting some 13 per cent of children nationally (DHS 2006). The poor nutrition situation has also been exacerbated by the impacts of the 2008/09 winter drought on food security in the Mid and Far Western Regions. About sixty-percent of rural households that were heavily impacted by the drought were already experiencing food shortages. Poor hygiene and contaminated water are key factors behind the outbreaks of diarrhoeal disease and cholera in the hills of the Mid- and Far Western Development Regions in July and August, claiming over 330 lives.
Over the past three years, floods have affected over 500,000 people in at least 14 terai districts. In 2008, at least 30,000 children were displaced by flooding—affecting their education and nutritional status as well as leading to illness associated with poor hygiene and sanitation conditions. The emergency-prone districts of the terai also have the country’s highest HIV prevalence rates; therefore, emergency responses need to include the provision of information on HIV prevention, care and treatment. Psychosocial support is also required for displaced children and their families. In 2009, more than 4,000 families have so far been affected by flooding. Nepal is also prone to earthquakes, with the Kathmandu Valley being highly vulnerable. Pre-positioning of essential drugs and preventive measures for vector-borne diseases, supplies for safe drinking water, and education materials in several locations across the country have proven effective.