WFP today welcomed a donation of 500,000 Euros (14.7 billion Meticais) from the Irish Government which will be used to assist Mozambicans affected by the country’s fourth consecutive year of drought.
“WFP is grateful for Ireland’s support to Mozambique as it comes at a critical time ahead of the ‘hunger season’ which runs from January to March and is when food is typically in short supply and usually unaffordable by the poorest people,” said Angela Van Rynbach, WFP Country Director.
“Many people are already eating one meal or less each day and will be in a critical situation if we are unable to help them through this period.”
According to results from a food security assessment led by the Government, with partners, many people have already exhausted their meagre stocks of food and are now eating wild foods, which have little or no nutritional value.
Food is the first line of defence in making sure people remain in good health when times are tough
Angela Van Rynbach, Country Director
The report also says many parents in the worst-affected areas are pulling their children out of school in order to have them fetch water from far off bore holes or wells, because the water table is at its lowest level in years.
Mozambique is frequently hit by floods and cyclones that wipe out infrastructure and livelihoods. As contingency, WFP plans to preposition about 14,000 tonnes of food to feed up to 135,000 in remote and low-lying communities.
WFP is currently feeding about 130,000 drought affected people across the country but needs to scale up operations to reach in excess of 500,000 people by January.
To date, however, the agency has been constrained in its response because of a funding shortage.
First line of defence
“Food is the first line of defence in making sure people remain in good health when times are tough, and WFP will ensure this donation supports the most vulnerable people,” Van Rynbach said.
“However, to feed people we need resources from the international community. Ireland’s donation will help feed many people.”
In Mozambique, WFP helps children get an education by offering meals at school in return for class participation.
Food for Work
The agency also feeds people affected by HIV/AIDS and supports community development through Food for Work programmes. In the first half year of 2005, the agency distributed 30,000 tonnes of food aid.
Around two third of WFP’s beneficiaries are school children and orphans. Mozambique has more than a million orphans – one of the highest proportions in southern Africa.
“The Government of Ireland is pleased to be able to help ease some of the suffering of the poorest people in Mozambique,” said Frank Sheridan, Ireland’s Ambassador to Mozambique.
“By giving the funds to WFP we will be helping many men, women, and children make it through the difficult months ahead.”