Stop accusing or your food will go to Iraq and Syria, top UN official warns Nepal


John Ging
John Ging / Courtesy: Annapurna Post

2 July 15A top UN official has warned the world’s largest humanitarian agency may stop the food aid to Nepal’s hundreds of thousands of earthquake affected people should the Nepalese government not recant its allegations against WFP’s relief materials.

John Ging, director of the Operational Division at the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, termed media reports about the ‘substandard’ and ‘inedible’ food that the WFP allegedly distributed as ‘nonsense’.

According to Annapurna Post, Mr Ging warned that if the accusations against the food distributed by the UN body are not retracted then the relief materials may be diverted to other crisis-ridden countries like Iraq and Syria.

Calling the accusations made by the local media and members of the constituent assembly as ‘false’, he claimed it was a conspiracy to tarnish the image of the United Nations in front of the Nepalese public.

There has been a spate of media reports that claimed that the food supplied by the WFP was ‘unfit for human consumption’, an allegation the UN body has categorically denied since the problem began to make it to the headlines, both in local and international media.

“It is totally wrong and nonsense to make allegations by the local media here that the WFP had distributed substandard foods to the earthquake affected people,” Indian news agency PTI quoted Mr Ging.

“The food distributed by the WFP were thoroughly checked before distributing them and maintained high standard,” he said at a press conference in Kathmandu. The UN official also visited some of the areas severely affected by the April 25 earthquake.

WFP rice
A specimen of rice distributed at Larpak, the epicentre of the April 25 temblor / File Photo

As for the local media in Nepal, it continues to raise profound concerns about the quality of the food being distributed among the victims of the April 25 disaster which has so far claimed nearly 9000 lives.

Responding to a query from the, WFP’s Communications Officer Zoie Jones had last month said, “WFP rice has been tested and found to be safe and edible. We tested the rice and so did the government’s Department of Food Technology and Quality Control (DFTQC). Both tests had the same result: the rice is safe and edible but had a slightly higher percentage (32%) of broken rice than the 25 percent quality standard. This means there were more broken grains and this is below our quality standard. This is a quality issue not a safety issue. We contacted the local supplier and got them to replace the rice.”

According to Annapurna Post, Mr Ging also expressed concern about the slow distribution of relief materials such as tin sheets, specially because the monsoon season was already in progress. Only ten percent of the required tin sheets has been distributed which he said was not enough. Although he appreciated the cooperation of the government at the centre, he found the local governments to be not as cooperative, Post said.

Either there is an ongoing plot to tarnish the image of the United Nations in the eyes of the Nepalese people (as claimed by Mr Ging) or there indeed is a deep-rooted problem in how the WFP accesses, stores and distributes its relief materials in Nepal.

In any case, this continuing imbroglio must come to an end now, because, at the end of the day, the victims of two major earthquakes must not die of hunger just because two sides fought a media war.

48 thoughts on “Stop accusing or your food will go to Iraq and Syria, top UN official warns Nepal

  1. This organisation should apologise to Nepal firstly for distributing poor quality food and secondly for threatening that their part of food will be given somewhere if Nepal complains about the quality. They shoud be inspected and if this is found true, action should be taken.

  2. Bro, this is a controversial issue. So, I guess, you should not out-rightly reach to a conclusion. As we have experienced, from the day 1, it has been raining all over Nepal. So, I guess, the rice that was distributed might not have been stored in a well maintained settings. And, these media always find something controversial and something cheesy to make their money. Though, I am a subscriber of REPUBLICA, I do not believe its news as I subscribe it for NYTIMES. There were 1000 tons of relief materials that were left unattended in TIA in those days. We need to question the inadequancy of our government to channelize those materials. Customs were so difficult to pass through and goods were left undistributed in TIA itself. We can’t believe on single clip and even that small clip to generalize everything. REPUBLICA media ethics has always been in scrutiny since the very first day of their publication. They do not really research news — they do not simply validate it before publishing it. Anyone can write anything and they are going to publish it. They are always short of news and stories. So, do not simply believe what media is saying.

    1. Though you dont believe on the news, think about the threat of a responsiable person. He could have defense it in a polite manner, not with such threat. Dont you think it is quite offensive? It hit right into the dignity of we Nepalese! We are not in extreme famine and if WFP has to support other countres instead of Nepal, they can do it without humilating us. 🙂

    2. Sorry but first you need to read and understand the way this guy is trying to tell. If he is good he could let us know in polite way , he is threatening us. And is it good to distribute those things ……….. We are not that much poor and couldn’t serve our-self instead of taking this sort of food . We are in a problem we need Help that’s it. You cannot provide anything in the Name of HELP.

      We have been living all our life keeping our Head up ……… Thanks 🙂

    3. I think Mr. Chaudhary is working in UN Food program office. Yes, we accept food can be damaged due to the lack of Govt and UN efficient work but he should be accept that some food was uneatable. He should return these foods from village and replace by good one. We know about NGO, UN etc corruption so if we should investigate fairly, we will find exact situation.

    4. Rajesh- That is very wise, bringing to the fore about if the very intent of the world agency we are talking about was ethical. It is plausible to assume that the materials were not stored well, but it is also plausible to assume when you are distributing 1000’s of tons of materials, you will have a last look at it. I have mixed feelings regarding the blatant threat though.

    5. it seems u work for WFP i have team who went laprak and take photos and this photos are taken my friends of mine and how could u blame TIA they als have some rules the mistake was from UN WFP

  3. I am surprised to know such statement and open threat by a responsible person from an umbrella organization of various nation in the world, UN and its wing WFP. As a part of UN, Nepal also has equal rights and responsibilities, we too bear its expenses and deserve some care and support in returns. Good food is a basic human right and UN or WFP could not violate it by forcing anyone to eat spoiled rice, lentil or any other food with such threat. If we don’t get WFP support, no matter but we Nepalese wont accept spoiled food. After all Mr. Jhon should understand that Nepal is not suffering from extreme famine like somewhere in Africa.

  4. Purohit Mahend Sharma

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    Christian bible say you should not tell lies.The public can see the condition of the rice in the rice bag.Even birds will not eat them

  5. This is serious threat to the health of the people. UN agencues are liable to the development of global community…they are not the dictator to decide…they have made Africa to suffer with similar policy of creating dependency and expanding their hidden bussiness…Mr Ging should apolozize in public…threat to end support is just a coward move to hide their inner layers…else government should take a serious action to reply then back…but our corrupted system will again be the barrier…

  6. Remark of top UN official is not within a diplomatic manner, UN enjoy diplomatic status. Our media should have evidence to produce …..

  7. The WFP is one of the main beneficiaries of so called “FLASH APPEAL” lead by UN. In short, UN decides which of the world organisations gets funds for helping victims of a disaster (in this case Nepal). World governments are donating based on this Appeal, which means that they operate with our (your) money from taxes etc. Now, should they be allowed to blackmail the receiver of these funds (Nepal), saying that if the media don’t stop the accusations, they will leave Nepalese people dying out of hunger?! Allegations false or not, it is simply a pure nonsense. Why don’t they stop caring about their public image and focus simply on doing their job vest and helping the people in need? Is it important what Nepalese media write about the WFP? If Nepalese receive help (meaning good quality food), they won’t care what the Nepali government nor the media write! Our actions speak for us, not the images presented in media. Moreover, UN and the WFP as public organisations and in fact a contractors of international donors, should be morally (and legally) obligated to respond to all kind of comments and complains coming from the customer (in this case Nepalese people). Lastly, the Nepalese media gave photo evidence. If is not enough, just simply think this: why would people in distress and danger care about creating false accusations towards people who might bring them help? Something smells wrong here (wrong like spoiled rice)! Frankly, even if the fault lays in the inefficiency of Nepalese system then maybe next time UN decides to distribute money, should give them not to foreign-owned organisations, which may not have any idea about food-storing in Asia, but they simply include more local (Nepali) organisations in the humanitarian recovery!

    1. mahendra shrestha

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      Totally agree with you. Instead of spending so much of money on chatered helicopters, it could be more wisely spent on the ground, where the needy, quake affect people are. I have seen local people, with limited donated rescourses, doing much more effective relief work, bringing smiles and hiding they sorrow.

  8. Ganesh chapagai

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    1. “John Ging” this person is an ex-Irish republican army. He is prejudice on Britain where gurkha served against them. So personally he is against nepal.
    2. UN itself has a controversial history as it works for so called “big countries” as a puppet and threatens to the less powerful countries like nepal. It has been loosing its credibility.
    3. It is shame to UN that showd its real face when nepal is facing the greatest disaster in a century. It had showed its inefficiency during Maoist (?) conflict as well.
    4. Instead of investigating the reality, it wants to defence the “act against humanity” distribution of unedible food to the people in disaster.
    5. If the incident is the act done by John Ging or on his command, UN must put him into account.

  9. we are in pain and need but don’t you dare think that we won’t survive without your aid……..take your aid and go feed the people you used blown up.

    1. UN is a joke anyways,puppet of the rich . Stop threatening nepal ,we are not all alive because you give us some bags of rice. A little criticism and u r threatening us ? Act like a responsible world organisation and stop behaving like a little child. May be it’s time for a rival organizational which will actually care about poor countries.

  10. On the one hand, one picture of a open bag of what looks like bad rice is not absolute proof that all or even some of the bags that WFP provided were bad. How can one verify the authenticity of this photograph?

    On the other hand, if what is written in this article is true, then this pompous UN official should immediately resign for threatening the earthquake affected people of Nepal that he has the power to divert the food elsewhere, when the food was specifically pledged to the people of Nepal by donor countries.

  11. You can stop threatening us! Please go home! We Nepalese will not tolerate a hard blow to our country’s integrity from anyone. Walk off!

  12. Nirmani Lal Shrestha

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    Please do not use such word which used by John Ging, director of the Operational Division at the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs if there is truth in above articles. Do not forget that UN & WFP will not be exist if there is no member countries, so please used a respected language to all the member country though member country is small and economically weak but still existence is because of all member country, Mr Ging. I think your duty is to check thoroughly first as there is something that makes smokes.

  13. bhishan Rajbhandari

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    we don’t need such support from WFP, they destroyed Iraq and are destroying other countries of world. Nepal is not that much poor…we Nepali people need to understand that we can do our self, lets work for our country. If we able to eradicate corruption from this country we will never need international donors. After this great earthquake we need to think differently. UN have never done right things for right people, it always create propaganda….

  14. I think it is very inappropriate for an official of UN to threaten outright in this fashion. It is unbecoming of his high office.
    Instead of threatening, what Mr. John Ging, director of the Operational Division at the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, should have done is find out through channels to which agency or agencies the food was given for distribution and their method of operation. Find out if there was storage problems or other problems that caused it.
    Mr. John Ging – if you think you are so high & mighty that you can threaten the Nepalese people – you are totally wrong. We may be very poor but we are very rich in self respect.

    YOU owe an apology to the Nepalese people.

  15. UN is not your own property to divert Nepal food program in other country. Mind your language to save your job, otherwise you should be punished from UN. You are one of the worker of world’s people, so don’t think you are all in one. I hope UN will take appropriate action on this case. I think Mr. John Ging is also involving on this corporation case.

  16. Subodh Raj Pyakurel

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    WFP claims stricter and international standards in procurement, transportation and distribution. UN agencies are obliged to respect national regulations while conducting their affairs. UN staffs are to respect citizen’s code and laws of the land as they do not represent their nation but they are representing the united nations which belongs to the people of world.
    Inflammatory remark from a UN staff is always contradictory to the Code of Conduct. Non-transparency and unilateral business is unlawful according to the rules set by WFP and conferences on international aid.
    Words are very sensitively censored in diplomacy specially when that comes during very precarious situation of serving people in calamities.
    Mr.John Jing did not upheld the accountability affixed to a senior UN official. The threat he explores do not carry any weightage. He doesn’t have the authority to decide alone on such matter.
    If Nepal Government puts this matter seriously and circulates to other members of the UN, I am sure Mr. Jing’s job in UN is gone.

    1. mahendra shrestha

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      The damn govt should put this case forward in the UN. We Nepali have survied in “dhero”and “ghundruk”and still love it, so I think keeping our self esteem we should keeping refusing substandard help. The govt should come forward and place a protest statement to tge UN body.

  17. This is not the first incident that WFP has distributed low quality food. Few years back, as part of their “Food for work” program, they had distributed very low quality (in fact rotten) food in Jajarkot, Nepal, that few people lost their live due to dysentery. Back then, the UN gave the same threat to Nepal government and succeeded in crushing the controversy. Seems like they have not leant their lesson and does not value the lives of people. I am happy that at least, this time, Nepalese people are united against this institution. We should not let them silence us this time also with their stupid threat and allow them to mess with the poor people of Nepal. They really should apologize not only for this incident but also for those lives lost in Jajarkot, few years back. WFP with rotten food is not the need of the country ……. In that case, they are better off to be out of the country.

  18. UN official is stupid to make such remark in term of threat to affected people. testing in upper label do not prove its quality…. should focus on distribution n ground level. I personally trust on organization like UN but same trust broke when it comes to its lower level staff corrupt behaviour. they might sale good stuff to local business n distribute their rotten goods. this might be the win win practice for both parties but victim suffer. So rather than giving threat to victim who has already lost everything, investigate on ur procedure n increase some check n balance. Top official should be sacked if he has used such word of threat.

  19. Both the WFP and the Nepal government need to be more transparent so people can better judge the situation.

    WFP: Where do the donated food supplies come from? Who are your suppliers? When and where did you test those supplies? What specific scientific tests were done on each type of food? What were the results? What were the standards? How long before distribution were the tests done? How many samples of each type were tested? How long had each food type been in storage after testing? Who handled the food in the supply chain after the testing stage?

    Nepal government: Where were the supplies stored after arrival? For how long?When and where did you test those supplies? What specific scientific tests were done on each type of food? What were the results? What were the standards? How many samples of each type were tested? Who handled the food in the supply chain before the testing stage?
    News reporters: Ask these questions and insist on answers! Don’t settle for simple statements like “The food is no good” or “The food is OK.” Do your job as a reporter. If you ask and they refuse to answer, tell your readers who is hiding the necessary details from you.

    Readers: Don’t decide on an issue like this based on who you trust most. Insist on getting the details to better judge.

  20. Sudarshan Mathema

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    We Nepalese are poor but not by heart. We have big heart & can’t accept insult & threat given by John Ging; one of the Directors of UN. Mr. Ging; are you entitled to use the word ‘Nonsense’ to Nepalese Reporters and Parliamentarians? Is it what you concluded in your 3 days visit to Nepal’s soil. WFP Nepal had already admitted their mistakes in distributing rotten rice to earthquake victims. With no strong reasons; why are you blaming to Nepalese Reporters & Parlamintarians? May be you are making Irish joke in front of Nepalese?

  21. Let UN know Nepal can survive without your grants and food.. We know why UN agencies, INGOs are here for…. You are here to fulfill vested interest of western power..Take the rotten food as well as your employees away from our country…Just start thinking let Nepal not turn to another Iraq or Syria for western world…

  22. This John Ging is nothing but simply a Bully xxxt. He has got no XXxking Diplomacy manner whatsoever. His attitude is simply as a dictator. We Nepalese are Neither beggar nor the animals. We know that WFP is spending thousands of dollar for the salary of such bully and the quality of food being distributed in Nepal is something human being of other planet would want to eat. WFP, if it is genuinely want to Help in Nepal, send the decent and consumable quality food.

  23. Even after Mr Ging threatened, more of such rubbishes were captured by government. Instead of destroying those confiscated inedible food WFP took away those food with them. “for what?”

  24. What he is trying is to say is, in Nepal you don’t have choice, either eat the rotten food without complaining or you won’t get anything. Is it a way of threatening? Whether it’s rich or poor country, rotten is rotten. And another thing that has brightened in the recent earthquake is, more than 80% of foreign aids are spent by the same foreign agency in the administrative expenditure, and less than 5% goes to the people. So, what matters is less than 5% out of your threat. #gohomerottenfoodandrottenattitude

  25. we don’t need any UN it’s bodies like WFP in our country we are capable ourselves ..they are here to bring conflict and destroy our gene by distributing rotten and poisonous food….. so go away from our country…….


  26. Obiviously, we need some help- may be lot of help. There might be a problem with the resources that UN providing to those in needs because of quality assurance problem. Probably weeknesses in thoroughly going through every item that has been distributed.

    I think both side have to calm down and make the strategy for thorough procedures to make sure quality is met.

    In regards to the comments the UN officer. It’s not appropriate for him to talk like that. You have to maintain your level while you make that humiliating statements.

  27. Leaving the blame game aside, the WFP senior management should have understood/should understand that you don’t send an expert in dealing with war riddle situation to a natural disaster situation. In war, people are divided but in natural disasters, people are united. And atleast send someone responsible when you are dealing with a damage control situation.
    And to any UN official, you are not above any government- you are international civil servant- time to refresh your integrity training.


  29. I was there.o make it rot, then they made a big hole threw everything away so they said but 90% already stolen, Then they said all is rotten

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