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Official statements announcing key developments in WFP operations and activities.
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647479
07/30/2015 - 11:31
Responding to Emergencies

WFP partners are distributing two-month food rations in Crater, Dar Saad, Tawwahi, Khor Maksar, Muala, Mansoura, Buraiqah and Sheikh Othman districts – all areas but one (Mansoura) had not been reached since April because of conflict. The food includes wheat flour, pulses and cooking oil.

“We are challenging the odds to reach tens of thousands of people who would go hungry without food assistance,” said Muhannad Hadi, WFP Regional Director for the Middle East, North Africa, Eastern Europe and Central Asia. “We are working to overcome insecurity, checkpoints and many other hurdles in Yemen to reach desperate families unable to feed their children.”

  • Three WFP-chartered ships delivered food assistance to the port of Aden last week. MV Han Zhi, MV Amsterdam and the smaller Sikka Star dhow docked in Aden’s oil port of Al-Buraiqa carrying a total of 6,800 metric tons of food – enough to provide emergency assistance for some 400,000 people for a month.
  • Since April, WFP has reached some 2.6 million conflict-affected and severely food-insecure people in 13 of Yemen’s governorates: Abyan, Aden, Dhale, Al Mahwit, Amran, Dhamar, Hajjah, Hodeidah, Lahj, Sana’a, Saada, Shabwa and Taiz.
  • On 22 July, the WFP-chartered MV Copenhagen docked in Aden with half a million litres of fuel – the first fuel vessel to reach the port since the beginning of the conflict in late March. WFP requires 1 million litres of fuel each month for its operations in Yemen.
  • Even before the war broke out, Yemen imported almost 90 percent of its basic food from abroad. The impact of traders being unable to import enough food and safely move it inside the country has led to a severe spike in prices, which is increasing the suffering of the poorest and most vulnerable.
  • Many road networks in and around Aden are currently now either inaccessible or very difficult to reach due to infrastructure damage and fighting. Aden airport is also still not open to commercial and humanitarian flights.
  • In July so far, almost 700,000 people are confirmed to have received WFP emergency food assistance – in Aden, Taizz, Amran, Sa’ada, and Lahj.

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WFP is the world's largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide, delivering food assistance in emergencies and working with communities to improve nutrition and build resilience. Each year, WFP assists some 80 million people in around 75 countries.

Follow us on Twitter @wfp_media & @wfp_mena

For more information please contact (email address: firstname.lastname@wfp.org):
Reem Nada, WFP/Cairo, Mob. +201066634522
Dina Elkassaby, WFP/Cairo, Mob. +201015218882
Jane Howard, WFP/Rome, Tel. +39 06 65132321, Mob. +39 346 7600521
Steve Taravella, WFP/Washington DC, Tel. +1 202 653 1149, Mob. +1 202 770 5993

 

CAIRO – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has begun distributions of food to around 340,000 people in eight of the worst-affected areas of the southern Yemeni port city of Aden.

647454
07/28/2015 - 13:11
Responding to Emergencies

“Families returning Garma are facing great challenges; much of the city’s infrastructure has been destroyed, while many homes and shops have been burnt during the fighting between Iraqi security forces and militants.  WFP and its local partner are working hard to provide the returning families with the necessary life-saving food assistance they need,” said WFP Representative and Country Director in Iraq Jane Pearce.

WFP and its local partner are the first humanitarian organisations able to reach Garma returnees with emergency food assistance after the security situation had made it inaccessible over the past year. The UN food agency aims to provide food assistance for a total of 800 returning families for three months. Each WFP food parcel feeds a family of five for one month and contains essential items such as rice, cooking oil, wheat flour, lentils, pasta and salt.

Qassem Mohammed Ajmi, a 47-year-old father of seven, said at first he was glad to return home to Garma but soon realised he had lost everything there and must start from scratch.
“My shop and house were burnt and we are now staying with friends until I figure out what I will do. We have gone below point zero,” Ajmi said. “The food from WFP is very valuable to me and my family – having it has lessened our suffering.”  

WFP has also managed to successfully distribute food assistance elsewhere in Anbar in July to around 140,000 internally displaced people within the governorate.

Since mid-June last year, around 3 million Iraqis have been displaced by the conflict in Iraq. The humanitarian situation continues to deteriorate as fighting continues and many people are living in precarious conditions without access to food, water or shelter.

Before the latest wave of displacements, WFP was already assisting about 240,000 people displaced by conflict in Iraq’s Anbar governorate as well as more than 215,000 refugees from Syria who are sheltering in Iraq.

#                              #                                 #

WFP is the world's largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide, delivering food assistance in emergencies and working with communities to improve nutrition and build resilience. Each year, WFP assists some 80 million people in around 75 countries.

Follow us on Twitter @wfp_media and @wfp   

For more information and to find out about press availability, please contact
(email address: firstname.lastname@wfp.org):
Marwa Awad, WFP/Erbil, Mobile +964 780 915 0764
Reem Nada, WFP/Cairo, Mobile: +2 010 6663 4522

 

 

BAGHDAD – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) is assisting Iraqi families returning to their homes in Garma city in Anbar province, providing over 185 families (925 people) with family food parcels to help them as they rebuild their shattered lives.

647452
07/28/2015 - 09:23

The WFP Executive Director will meet leading government officials, members of the donor community and WFP partners.

WFP is the largest humanitarian agency in Tajikistan, reaching annually over half a million people in most areas. The UN food agency implements recovery and development programmes including school feeding, nutrition support to malnourished children under 5 years old and tuberculosis patients. WFP also helps communities – through a food-for-assets programme – improve their infrastructure to strenthen community resilience.

Cousin will be available for individual interviews upon request.

Monday 27 July: The Executive Director travels to a rural district in the south of the country to visit a primary health centre where WFP provides nutrition assitance to children under 5. She will also meet villagers reconstructing an irrigation canal through a WFP’s food-for-assets project.

Tuesday 28 July: Cousin will attend a panel discussion on the  “Centrality of Affected Communities” 09.45 am to 11.00 am at the Ismaili Centre Plenary Hall. Participants will discuss how to re-shape humanitarian action.

Tuesday 28 July: News conference “Setting a new course for humanitarian action in South and Central Asia” from 11.30am to 12.30 pm at the Ismaili Centre Multipurpose Hall.  Cousin will take part in a news conference along with Kyung-wha Kang, Assistant Secretary-General and Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator,  Zohidi Nizomiddin Shamsiddinzoda, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Tajikistan, and H.E. Akbar Ali Pesnani, Diplomatic Representative to Tajikistan, Agha Khan Development Network.

Wednesday 29 July: The Executive Director will attend a panel discussion on “Humanitarian Financing and Humanitarian Principles” from 8.30 to 9.30 am at the Ismaili Centre Plenary Hall. Participants will address the issue of humanitarian financing in the context of humanitarian response focusing on humanitarian funding in conflict and protracted crisis situations.

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WFP is the world's largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide, delivering food assistance in emergencies and working with communities to improve nutrition and build resilience. Each year, WFP assists some 80 million people in around 75 countries.

Follow us on Twitter @wfp_media and @wfp   

For more information and to find out about press availability, please contact:
Elizabeth Zalkind, WFP/Dushanbe, Tel. +9929 000 3236, Mob. +996 555 940420

 

 

 

 

DUSHANBE – The Executive Director of the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) Ertharin Cousin arrived today in Dushanbe for a four-day visit to take part in the World Humanitarian Summit (WHS) Regional Consultation for South and Central Asia, 28-30 July, and to visit WFP operations in Tajikistan.

647449
07/27/2015 - 11:01

Dr. Biden is in the region to hear about efforts to improve economic conditions, particularly for women and girls. Through its school feeding programme, WFP distributes nutritious snacks daily to more than 150,000 pre- and primary school children in over 1,500 schools.  

“The snacks that WFP provides are essential for the children to be able to concentrate and learn - since many of them come to school without having breakfast,” said Sarah Gordon-Gibson, WFP Country Director in Lao PDR. “At a cost of only US$0.15 per ration, this investment in the children’s life will have significant economic returns, especially for the girls and their communities.”

Dr. Biden was shown visually how school feeding operates.  Supported by the US government and other donors, the WFP programme provides each child with 493 calories per day, contributing to increased enrolment and improved literacy.

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WFP is the world's largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide, delivering food assistance in emergencies and working with communities to improve nutrition and build resilience. In 2013, WFP assisted more than 80 million people in 75 countries.

Follow us on Twitter @wfp_asia

For more information please contact:
Ene-Mai Oks, Communications and Reporting, +856 20 55523738, Enemai.oks@wfp.org

 

VIENTIANE - Dr. Jill Biden, Second Lady of the United States, took time to meet officials from the World Food Programme (WFP) this week, to discuss how important children’s nutrition and education are for the country’s economic development.

647437
07/24/2015 - 11:23

The funds, which are channelled through the European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO), will be used by WFP to provide food assistance - including rice, oil and peas - to hungry families so that they do not have to eat or sell their seeds and tubers.  The situation is especially acute during the lean season, before the harvest comes in, when farmers may be forced to consume or sell their assets – and then are unable to plant for the next season.

“It is vital to safeguard the seed-stock of local farmers so that they will have a harvest next season,” explained Karima Hammadi, acting head of the ECHO office in Bangui. “With this short-term food assistance we safeguard the long-term survival of many rural communities and help strengthen the food security of the country.”

Since early 2013, when the conflict erupted in C.A.R, more than 460,000 people have fled to neighbouring countries and some 368,900 have been displaced inside the country. It is estimated that 1.27 million people currently require humanitarian food assistance in C.A.R., which was one of the world’s poorest countries even before the war. 

Alongside its life-saving response, WFP is working closely with the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and partners to support agricultural production. The seed protection programme, which focuses on rural impoverished families, aims to ensure their access to food during the “hunger” period (before the harvest in August and September) while protecting their seeds.  Assistance is also provided to those people returning home to take up their livelihoods.  Additionally, the programme aims to strengthen the resilience of food insecure households in areas affected by conflict as well as foster links between farmers and markets to promote the commercialization of smallholder agriculture.
 
WFP plans to reach more than 400,000 people during the farming season, which runs from April to September.  So far, nearly 212,000 people have received assistance in 2015.

“The seed protection programme is important because it assists farmers throughout the  period of agricultural activity, which coincides with the critical lean season. Thanks to  ECHO’s contribution, we are able to continue this assistance and reach the people most in need,” said Bienvenu Djossa, WFP Country Director in C.A.R.

In 2015, WFP and its partners intend to assist 1.2 million people in the areas worst affected by conflict and ensuing hunger. However, with only 40 percent of its funding needs met, WFP urgently requires US$79 million to continue providing vital assistance to hungry families through to the end of the year.  

#                              #                                 #

WFP is the world's largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide, delivering food assistance in emergencies and working with communities to improve nutrition and build resilience. Each year, WFP assists some 80 million people in around 75 countries.

Follow us on Twitter @wfp_media, @WFP_WAfrica

For more information please contact (email address: firstname.lastname@wfp.org):
Sayaka Sato WFP CAR (Central African Republic), +236 21614926
Frances Kennedy WFP/Rome +39 0665133725; Mob: +39 3467600806

 

BANGUI – Farming households who struggle to feed their families in the war-ravaged Central African Republic (C.A.R.) are to receive vital support at a critical time, thanks to a contribution by the European Union of €1,575,000 to the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP).

647423
07/23/2015 - 10:50

The 2015 wheat crop is expected to be better than the 2014 drought stricken harvest, but will not lead to significant improvements in the overall household food security situation, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Food Programme (WFP) said in their report. 

In total, some 9.8 million people in Syria are estimated to be food insecure, with 6.8 million of these severely food insecure – a level of need that requires external food assistance. Since January this year alone, more than half a million people have been displaced.  

The conflict continues to seriously disrupt agricultural activities and food markets, according to the FAO-WFP report. 

“Although Syria’s current harvest is better than expected due to abundant rains, the country’s agriculture sector remains decimated by the conflict. Urgent donor support is needed to ensure farmers can meet the upcoming cereal planting season, beginning in October,” said Dominique Burgeon, Director of FAO’s Emergency and Rehabilitation Division.

Agricultural production continues to be impeded by shortages of fuel, farm labour and agricultural inputs, including seeds and fertilizers; high input costs and unreliable quality; as well as damages to irrigation systems and farming equipment. These factors are compounding the food insecurity situation in the country. 

“The evidence is clear: almost five years of conflict have destroyed the Syrian economy and the people’s ability to buy essentials like the food they need to survive,” said Arif Husain, WFP’s Chief Economist. “We worry about the continued displacement and its impact particularly on women and children. The risk of irreversible damage to the children is real, with tragic future consequences if this conflict lasts much longer.” He added: “We urge the international community to continue supporting the vital peace and relief efforts until peace is found.”

Wheat production in 2015, estimated at 2.445 million tonnes, is expected to be better than the very poor harvest of 2014 and slightly better than that of 2013. Yet, it is still 40 percent lower than pre-conflict production levels. The country faces a wheat deficit of about 800 000 tonnes out of its yearly requirement of nearly 5 million tonnes, the report said. 

The area planted to cereals was constrained by insecurity and the estimated harvested wheat area is the smallest since the 1960s, the reports notes. 

Livestock production is also gravely affected by the conflict. The sector, once a major contributor to Syria’s domestic economy and to its external trade, has seen reductions of 30 per cent in cattle and 40 per cent in sheep and goats, while poultry, usually the most affordable source of protein in people’s diets has shrunk by 50 per cent. The report also noted that the country’s veterinary service is rapidly running out of vaccines and routine drugs. 

Price of bread has skyrocketed  

After being relatively stable in 2014, food prices began increasing sharply in early 2015 in the wake of lower government subsidies and exchange rate depreciation. Critically, the price of bread has spiraled in the past year, increasing by up to 87 per cent in public bakeries. 

The share of household expenditure on food has increased tremendously since the beginning of the crisis, at the expense of meeting other critical needs. Families were found to be spending more than half of their incomes on food and in some places such as Sweida, Aleppo and Hama this share is higher and has jumped to almost 80 percent in Dara’a, one of the areas which have witnessed some of the most intensive fighting.

A majority of people were found consuming a “poor” or “borderline” diet. Dietary diversity is somewhat better in the north-western governorates of Idlib, Tartous and Lattakia, where households seem to have some access to high quality and vitamin rich proteins and vegetables. People in the conflict-affected governorates of Deir Ezzor, Hassakeh, Aleppo and Hama have the worse food consumption indicators. 

Market fragmentation 

Syria’s producers, transporters and traders are facing extremely high transaction costs and risks due to further increased insecurity in arterial highways. As a result, movement of agricultural produce from production areas to main markets face multiple bottlenecks, leading to increased wastage of fruit and vegetables and hampering transfers of wheat surpluses from the north east to the food deficit areas of the west of the country

Recommendations

While an end to the conflict remains the main precondition for ensuring that people in Syria have adequate access to food, the FAO-WFP report provides a set of recommendations aimed at improving the current food security situation, stressing the need for food assistance to the besieged and violence afflicted areas of the country.

It recommends assistance to boost wheat and other cereal production through the provision of good quality seeds, fertilizers and other agricultural inputs. In order to strengthen the resilience of affected communities, it further recommends supporting the establishment of village-based private seed production and distribution centres, promoting backyard vegetable and poultry production through distribution of improved seeds and chicks, as well as providing livestock vaccines and veterinary drugs.

For more information please contact:

Peter Mayer
FAO Media Relations (Rome)
(+39) 06 570 53304
peter.mayer@fao.org

Dina Elkassaby
WFP Communications (Cairo)
(+20) 1015218882
dina.elkassaby@wfp.org

Jane Howard
WFP Communications (Rome)
(+39) 06 6513 2321 
(+39) 346 7600521 
jane.howard@wfp.org

Rome – Syria’s food production  has increased this year mainly due to favourable rains, but it remains way below its pre-crisis levels as the ongoing conflict continues to push more people into hunger and poverty, according to a report published today by two UN agencies.

647406
07/22/2015 - 14:58

WFP responded to the request of the Government of Albania to provide assistance for the most vulnerable families in badly hit communities, through cash transfers to help them to rebuild their lives. The February floods were Albania’s second worst floods on record; only a disaster in 1971 was worse.

The Albanian Red Cross covered immediate food requirements in the aftermath of the floods, but there is still a pressing need for food assistance. WFP is providing a cash injection to the most vulnerable families in flood-affected communities.
 
“The torrential rains forced people out of their homes and shattered the lives of many. WFP is striving to help them regain control and get back to normal life, through providing them with cash assistance,” said Carl Paulsson WFP Senior Regional Programme Adviser for North Africa, Middle East, Central Asia and Eastern Europe. “WFP is using cutting-edge technology to respond to this emergency and adapt to the situation on the ground even in a country where we do not have permanent presence.”

WFP is using in Albania an innovative information system for managing assistance programmes, known as SCOPE. The system allows WFP to monitor and control all its distributions of food, cash and vouchers electronically and in near real time. SCOPE also allows WFP to register beneficiaries and store information on the amount of food or money they are entitled to.

Households in the five most-affected regions in Albania; Fier, Berat, Vlorë, Elbasan, Gjirokastër, will receive a three-month cash grant through personal cheques. Each person is entitled to US$35 per month (4,340 Albanian Lek) totalling US$105 per person (13,020 Albanian Lek). WFP plans to distribute three months’ entitlement in one distribution through the branches of Intesa Sanpaolo Bank Albania.

Beneficiaries were selected by local village committees established with participation of village elders, women and the poorest members of the community.

The Civil Emergency Department of the Ministry of Internal affairs of Albania is WFP’s counterpart for this operation. Also cooperating with WFP is the Albanian Red Cross, which worked with the local committees to collect information on vulnerable households. 

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WFP is the world's largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide, delivering food assistance in emergencies and working with communities to improve nutrition and build resilience. Each year, WFP assists some 80 million people in around 75 countries.

Follow us on Twitter @WFP_media, @WFP_MENA

For more information please contact::
Khatuna Epremidze, WFP/Cairo, email: khatuna.epremidze@wfp.org, Mob. +2 01038594934
Nora Kushti, UN/Tirana, email: nora.kushti@undp.org, Tel: +355 4 2276611 

 

TIRANA – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has begun providing cash assistance to close to 9,500 people affected by the floods in the country’s south earlier this year. 

647394
07/21/2015 - 15:22

WFP will use the contribution of around €500,000 (approximately US$545,000) to provide food assistance for nearly three months to more than 13,000 South Sudanese who have sought refuge in two localities in Sudan’s South Kordofan state.  WFP’s food basket includes sorghum - a food staple in Sudan - as well as pulses, oil and salt.  

“Italy is always on the frontline in supporting the vulnerable people here in Sudan.   Our mission is to help people in need and WFP has proven to be our reliable partner in doing so in the last years,” said Italian Ambassador to Sudan Fabrizio Lobasso.  

WFP is currently assisting more than 100,000 South Sudanese who have fled conflict at home and are now in the states of South Kordofan, North Kordofan, West Kordofan and White Nile in Sudan.

For many years, Italy has been one of WFP’s most reliable partners in its efforts to reduce hunger in Sudan. More recently, Italy has provided significant funding to WFP’s school feeding and food for training programmes in the states of Kassala and Red Sea in eastern Sudan. Thanks to Italy, WFP has continued to promote the participation of girls in school and to boost literacy among adult women who missed school when they were young due to social and cultural norms.

“Italy has been exceptional in its support to our efforts in eastern and central Sudan. With this particular contribution, we will be able to expand the reach of our assistance to the South Sudanese who have fled conflict in their country and entered Sudan,” said WFP Representative and Country Director Adnan Khan.

Sudan remains one of WFP’s largest and most complex operations, providing food assistance to people suffering from conflict, displacement and chronic under-nourishment in Darfur, along with vulnerable groups in the east and border areas to the south.

For the first half of the year, WFP responded to the food security and nutritional needs of 3.7 million people including 2.8 million vulnerable people in the conflict-affected region of Darfur. From July, WFP will assist 2.3 million people including 1.8 million displaced people. WFP aims to reach all of them with life-saving food assistance and nutrition programmes, as well as recovery and resilience-building activities that help communities to become self-reliant.

#               #                 #

WFP is the world's largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide, delivering food assistance in emergencies and working with communities to improve nutrition and build resilience. Each year, WFP assists some 80 million people in around 75 countries.

Follow us on Twitter @wfp_media @wfp_mena

For more information please contact (email address: firstname.lastname@wfp.org):
Amor Almagro, WFP/Khartoum, Tel. +249 183248001 (ext. 2114), Mob. +249 912174853
Abdulaziz Abdulmomin, WFP/Khartoum, Tel. +249 183248001 (ext. 2123), Mob. +249 912167055
Ahmed Eltayeb, WFP/Khartoum, Tel. +249183248001 (ext. 2110), Mob. +249 912505210

 

 

KHARTOUM – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) today welcomed a contribution from the Government of Italy to support the needs of conflict-affected South Sudanese who have fled to Sudan.

647388
07/21/2015 - 13:30
Responding to Emergencies

The MV Han Zhi with 3,000 metric tons of food – enough to feed 180,000 people for one month – docked at Aden’s oil port of Al-Buraiqa. Although it had arrived off Aden on 26 June, it was forced to wait over three weeks for a safe window to berth.

“This is a major breakthrough for our humanitarian response in Yemen. While we have been able to reach several southern areas by land, docking at the port of Aden allows us to accelerate our response to meet urgent needs in southern Yemen,” said Muhannad Hadi, WFP Regional Director for the Middle East, North Africa, Central Asia and Eastern Europe. “In the coming days we hope to reach more people, not only in Aden but throughout Yemen.”

WFP made repeated attempts to send ships to Aden, all of which until today were blocked due to severe fighting in the port area. Despite insecurity and extreme difficulties reaching Aden by road, WFP has delivered food to displaced families in the governorate. Through its local partner, WFP last reached Aden on 14 July with emergency food assistance for more than 27,000 people.

More WFP-chartered ships are on stand-by near Aden carrying fuel and more food. WFP is working to channel food through Aden to people in need of humanitarian assistance particularly in Yemen’s southern governorates, which are largely inaccessible because of fighting.

Since April, WFP has reached more than 2 million conflict-affected and severely food insecure people in thirteen of Yemen’s governorates, including Abyan, Aden, Dhale, Al Mahwit, Amran, Dhamar, Hajjah, Hodeidah, Lahj, Sana’a, Saada, Shabwa and Taiz.

“WFP has done everything possible to reach people affected by the conflict in Yemen,” Hadi said. “We mobilized our logistical capacities, hired vessels and brought food and fuel into the country under very challenging circumstances. We have assisted many Yemeni children, women and men in dire need. However, we will not rest until we reach all of those who are in need.”

A recent food security assessment estimated the number of food-insecure people in Yemen at close to 13 million. This includes more than 6 million severely food insecure people who cannot survive without external assistance.

#                              #                                 #

WFP is the world's largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide, delivering food in emergencies and working with communities to build resilience. In 2013, WFP assisted more than 80 million people in 75 countries.

Follow us on Twitter @wfp_media & @wfp_mena

For more information please contact:
Reem Nada, WFP/Cairo, Mob. +201066634522
Dina Elkassaby, WFP/Cairo, Mob. +201015218882
Mariam Sami, WFP/Amman, Mob. +962 791 295 749
Peter Smerdon, WFP/Rome, Tel. +30 06 6513 2150, Mob. +39 342 878 4107
Gregory Barrow, WFP/London, Tel.  +44 20 72409001, Mob.  +44 7968 008474
Steve Taravella, WFP/Washington DC, Tel. +1 202 653 1149, Mob. +1 202 770 5993

 

CAIRO – A United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) ship carrying food assistance arrived in Aden today – the first WFP-chartered ship to berth at the port since conflict erupted in Yemen in March. The food will provide much needed assistance for people in contested southern governorates.

647385
07/21/2015 - 10:33
WFP Ambassadors

In Lebanon, Watson set sail with five Syrian and Lebanese youths from the capital Beirut to a port to the north. Her symbolic “Sail with WFP” initiative aimed to highlight the daunting journeys made by so many young people from their homes in Syria to Lebanon, Jordan and beyond.

“I experienced one of the most incredible trips of my career. Young people in the region are having to bear an unimaginable weight on their shoulders at a time when they should be pursuing their hopes and dreams,” Watson said. “I hope that this trip will help raise awareness among my peers back home and abroad about the struggle of the Syrian people.”

Watson, an Australian, is the youngest person to sail solo and unassisted around the world.

In Jordan, Watson spent a day in Azraq refugee camp with Manal, a single mother from Syria, and her eight children. She listened to their stories, joined the family on a grocery trip to the camp’s only supermarket – where refugees buy food with WFP’s electronic food cards. She earned how to make kabsa, a traditional Syrian rice dish, and visited a Save the Children International youth centre in Amman and met young people from both Syria and Jordan.

Her trip came at a critical time when vulnerable Syrian refugee families are struggling to survive with reduced rations that WFP was forced to introduce early this year due to lack of funding. WFP is funded entirely by contributions from governments, companies and private individuals.

Its regional refugee operation is 81 percent underfunded and needs US$138 million to keep helping desperate refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, Turkey and Iraq through September.

Watson, who was born in Queensland, Australia, was voted Young Australian of the Year in 2011 after circumnavigating the globe alone at age 16. Shortly afterwards, she was appointed as a WFP Youth Representative in the global fight against hunger.

#               #                 #

WFP is the world's largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide, delivering food in emergencies and working with communities to build resilience. In 2013, WFP assisted more than 80 million people in 75 countries.

Follow us on Twitter @wfp_media & @wfp_mena

For photos:
https://www.dropbox.com/sh/wetls0txvlnh0rj/AADYD60l4SuQa81pP0JWOZ9ja?dl=0

For more information please contact:
Dina El-Kassaby, WFP/Cairo, Tel. +2010 15218882
Joelle Eid, WFP/Amman, Mob. +962 79727 9403

 

AMMAN – The United Nations World Food Programme’s (WFP) Youth Ambassador Jessica Watson has visited Syrian refugees in Lebanon and Jordan where she witnessed their remarkable strength in facing arduous daily challenges resulting from the conflict in Syria.