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Food Assistance to Refugees from Bhutan in Nepal

Countries: Nepal | Operations ID: 200787 | Operations type: Protracted Relief and Recovery Operation (PRRO)

As a consequence of revised citizenship laws enacted by the Government of Bhutan in the 1980s, Bhutanese asylum seekers fled to Nepal in the early 1990s. The Bhutanese refugees are the decedents of Nepalese people that migrated to Bhutan between the 1870s and 1940s. In 1985, after the renouncement of earlier citizenship laws granted to this group of people, they were forced to leave Bhutan.

In 1993, the governments of Nepal and Bhutan initiated negotiations to find solutions for the Bhutanese refugees living in Nepal. Finally in 2007, the Government of Nepal
agreed to third-country resettlement as a durable solution. As of August 2014, over 92,000 refugees have been resettled to eight countries, while some 23,500 people are
still in in two camps in Jhapa and Morang districts located in the eastern plains region of Nepal. According to the latest resettlement trends, it is expected that each year 20%
of the remaining refugees will resettle, and a final caseload of 10,000-15,000 will remain once the resettlement exercise concludes.

Since 1992, WFP has provided food assistance under a series of emergency and protracted relief operations at the request of the Government of Nepal. As refugees are
not permitted to participate in viable agriculture or economic activities, they have been dependent on external assistance as their primary source of food since then.

The overall goal of this protracted relief and recovery operation (PRRO) is to save lives and protect livelihoods of the refugee population by providing secure access to
food, improving the nutritional status of refugees and enabling them to acquire skills that will improve self-reliance. The PRRO will contribute to WFP’s Strategic Objective (SO) 1 and Millennium Development Goal 1, and is in line with the Zero Hunger Challenge.

Following recommendations from the 2014 JAM and the market surveys of 2012 and 2014, WFP will continue to provide full food rations to the refugees while monitoring
the market prices with the intention of switching to a market-based response from the third year of operation, when the refugee population will stabilize. Furthermore, in
order to stabilize or reduce undernutrition, children aged 6-59 months, pregnant and lactating women (PLW), people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) and tuberculosis (TB) clients will receive additional nutrition support.