World Food Program(WFP), doing yeomen service to the poor and famished populations around the world, had to face stinging criticism recently in Nepal where it was accused of supplying unsafe foods causing serious diarrhea episode and several deaths. Though the agency denied vehemently that the problem is caused by the foods distributed by it, a sustained campaign is still going on to tarnish its image.
"Informal Sector Service Center (INSEC) today disputed the claim of the UN World Food Programme (WFP) that the food it had distributed to far-western region was of acceptable standard. The human rights watchdog also raised serious concerns over the recent government report which had ruled out the correlation between the WFP-supplied food and diarrhoeal toll in the region. Condemning the government and the WFP's findings, the organisation has sought a clarification from the government as to why 450 people died of diarrhoea in mid and far western region of the country. Subodh Pyakhurel, INSEC's president charged that the government has surrendered itself before the UN agency (WFP) by publishing a report that was biased without trying to find what actually triggered the diarrhoeal toll. INSEC claims that the food that had been distributed to the people in the region was 'unfit for human consumption'. A report released today by INSEC and Consumers' Right Protection Forum (CRPF), based on a field visit, has cited WFP's poor quality supplies as causing diarrhoeal toll in the region.
It is in the interest of WFP that it proves itself above suspicion by commissioning an impartial agency from a third world country to look into the allegations through a comprehensive investigation. Even if there is an iota of truth in the claims made by those who are in the forefront of the campaign against WFP, that should serve, at least, as a guideline for future.