The U.N. World Food Program has teamed up with Nepal’s largest trekking associations to haul relief to high-altitude villages damaged by the earthquake that slammed the country April 25.
The deal with the Trekking Agencies Association of Nepal and the Nepal Mountaineering Association is not just about overcoming logistical challenges to distributing aid in the mountainous country. It’s also a way to fast-track recovery by tapping local labor, according to Richard Ragan, WFP’s emergency coordinator in Nepal.
“We’ve been using porters for years in Nepal,” Ragan told Devex. “It’s not really something that’s new to us in the country, but it’s new in the sense that we’re using disaster relief as a way to press into recovery and rehabilitation much faster than we would normally.”
The 7.8-magnitude earthquake and the numerous aftershocks that followed destroyed infrastructure supporting a budding trekking industry in Langtang region — between the popular Annapurna and Everest routes — with landslides wiping out villages and cutting off tracks.