Security has been partially restored by the FARDC (national army of DRC) to allow many to return, including residents of Nobili, where this morning’s food distribution took place.
An assessment carried out in December by UN agencies and non-government organizations reported significant food shortages in Nobili locality as many people were not able to look after their farms during the planting season. Nutritional screening carried out last August revealed more than 12 percent of children aged under five to be acutely malnourished.
WFP, in partnership with the Lutheran World Federation, is providing food assistance to cover the needs of 74,000 people including internally displaced people (IDPs) and their host families in the Nobili and Kamango localities of Beni. More than 600 metric tons of mixed food commodities will be distributed over the next month. WFP is also implementing a supplementary feeding programme designed to support malnourished children, pregnant women and nursing mothers.
“We’re very concerned about the food security situation of people living in these areas,” says WFP Representative in DRC Martin Ohlsen. “They missed the planting season in October due to insecurity and now they risk going hungry if no assistance is provided. While advocating for the protection of civilians there, we encourage all parties to the conflict, as well as the Congolese and Ugandan authorities, to provide safe passage to aid personnel, food and other humanitarian goods.”
The WFP operation, which involves transporting food overland from Goma to Nobili, is logistically challenging. Nobili is only 440 km northeast of Goma, North Kivu’s provincial capital but lack of security and heavy rains have rendered the unpaved roads very difficult. WFP-contracted trucks must currently take the longer route through Uganda.
At the same time, in its capacity as logistics provider within the humanitarian community, WFP is organizing the overland transport to Nobili of 14,000 kits of non-food items. This support for returnees to Nobili is being provided on behalf of Unicef and in partnership with the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC).
WFP’s intervention in Nobili is in line with the 2014 Humanitarian Action Plan for DRC. Drawn up by the UN and partners, this recommends that food assistance be prioritized for those who are most food-insecure, such as people recently displaced by conflict.
For 2014, WFP plans to assist two million food-insecure people in DRC including IDPs, refugees from the Central African Republic, returnees, malnourished children, pregnant women and nursing mothers.
To ensure continued food assistance to hundreds of thousands of conflict-affected and food-insecure people between now and August, WFP requires US$48.5 million in funding.
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WFP is the world’s largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide. Last year, WFP reached more than 97 million people in 80 countries with food assistance.
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