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WFP distributes food to victims of Beslan tragedy

Moscow WFP has started the distribution of food assistance to the hundreds of children and adults caught up in the Beslan hostage-taking tragedy which left 338 dead and 747 injured.

MOSCOW - The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) started the distribution of food assistance this week to the hundreds of children and adults caught up in the Beslan hostage-taking tragedy which left 338 dead and 747 injured.

In response to requests from doctors in Beslan, North Ossetia, WFP began on Monday an initial one-week distribution of various food commodities to three hospitals in Beslan and the regional capital, Vladikavkaz, where many of the victims were taken.

"What happened in Beslan is a terrible tragedy. WFP is determined to do all it can to alleviate the suffering of the victims," said Chris Czerwinski, Country Director of WFP's operations in Russia.

WFP's ability to respond quickly to the crisis was partly due to the agency's existing capacity in the north Caucasus region of southern Russia, where it has been providing emergency assistance since January 2000 to 290,000 people affected by the conflict in and around Chechnya.

WFP has received various donations to ensure the continuation of assistance over the next three weeks. The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation rapidly responded with a donation of US$10,000, while TNT, the Dutch mail, express and logistics company, immediately authorised the use of US$3,000, partly raised by staff contributions in Moscow.

The TNT donation was used by WFP to purchase food on the local market in Vladikavkaz. In addition to WFP's commodities of sugar, flour and rice, the agency also included yoghurt, milk, pasta, condensed milk, dried fruits and jam in its relief package.

Earlier in the week, the Nestlé corporation also confirmed a contribution of eight metric tons of chocolate bars, breakfast cereal and juice. On Thursday, EMERCOM, Russia's Ministry for Emergencies, began transporting the Nestlé donation on an Ilyushin-76 to North Ossetia. WFP immediately facilitated the distribution to the victims of Beslan.

WFP is the world's largest humanitarian agency: in 2003 we gave food aid to a record 104 million people in 81 countries, including 56 million hungry children.

WFP Global School Feeding Campaign For just 19 US cents a day, you can help WFP give children in poor countries a healthy meal at school -- a gift of hope for a brighter future.

(email address: firstname.lastname@wfp.org):

Chris Czerwinski
Country Director

WFP/Moscow

Tel. 007-095-2323011

Brenda Barton
Deputy Director Communications

WFP/Rome

Tel. +39-06-65132602

Mob. +39-3472582217

Christiane Berthiaume
WFP/Geneva

Tel. +41-22-9178564

Mob. +41-79-2857304

Trevor Rowe
WFP/NY

Tel. +1-212-9635196

Mob. +1-646-8241112

rowe@un.org

Jordan Dey
WFP/Washington

Tel. +1-202-6530010 ext. 1149

Mob. +1-202-4223383

Mia Turner
WFP/Cairo

Tel. +20-27545045

Mob. +20-122455769

Robin Lodge
WFP/Rome

Tel. +39-06-65133201

MOSCOW - The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) started the distribution of food assistance this week to the hundreds of children and adults caught up in the Beslan hostage-taking tragedy which left 338 dead and 747 injured.

In response to requests from doctors in Beslan, North Ossetia, WFP began on Monday an initial one-week distribution of various food commodities to three hospitals in Beslan and the regional capital, Vladikavkaz, where many of the victims were taken.

"What happened in Beslan is a terrible tragedy. WFP is determined to do all it can to alleviate the suffering of the victims," said Chris Czerwinski, Country Director of WFP's operations in Russia.

WFP's ability to respond quickly to the crisis was partly due to the agency's existing capacity in the north Caucasus region of southern Russia, where it has been providing emergency assistance since January 2000 to 290,000 people affected by the conflict in and around Chechnya.

WFP has received various donations to ensure the continuation of assistance over the next three weeks. The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation rapidly responded with a donation of US$10,000, while TNT, the Dutch mail, express and logistics company, immediately authorised the use of US$3,000, partly raised by staff contributions in Moscow.

The TNT donation was used by WFP to purchase food on the local market in Vladikavkaz. In addition to WFP's commodities of sugar, flour and rice, the agency also included yoghurt, milk, pasta, condensed milk, dried fruits and jam in its relief package.

Earlier in the week, the Nestlé corporation also confirmed a contribution of eight metric tons of chocolate bars, breakfast cereal and juice. On Thursday, EMERCOM, Russia's Ministry for Emergencies, began transporting the Nestlé donation on an Ilyushin-76 to North Ossetia. WFP immediately facilitated the distribution to the victims of Beslan.

WFP is the world's largest humanitarian agency: in 2003 we gave food aid to a record 104 million people in 81 countries, including 56 million hungry children.

WFP Global School Feeding Campaign For just 19 US cents a day, you can help WFP give children in poor countries a healthy meal at school -- a gift of hope for a brighter future.

(email address: firstname.lastname@wfp.org):

Chris Czerwinski
Country Director

WFP/Moscow

Tel. 007-095-2323011

Brenda Barton
Deputy Director Communications

WFP/Rome

Tel. +39-06-65132602

Mob. +39-3472582217

Christiane Berthiaume
WFP/Geneva

Tel. +41-22-9178564

Mob. +41-79-2857304

Trevor Rowe
WFP/NY

Tel. +1-212-9635196

Mob. +1-646-8241112

rowe@un.org

Jordan Dey
WFP/Washington

Tel. +1-202-6530010 ext. 1149

Mob. +1-202-4223383

Mia Turner
WFP/Cairo

Tel. +20-27545045

Mob. +20-122455769

Robin Lodge
WFP/Rome

Tel. +39-06-65133201

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