WFP has welcomed a donation of US$1.8 million by the Government of Turkey that has been earmarked for six West African countries, all in urgent need of food aid.
The Ambassador of Turkey to Senegal, His Excellency Mr. Yalcin Kaya Erensoy, presented the donation to WFP Deputy Regional Director for West Africa, Christine van Nieuwenhuyse, at an official ceremony in the Senegalese capital.
Also in attendance were government representatives of the countries who are to benefit from the donation.
One third of the gift from Turkey – US$600,000 – has been allocated to WFP’s emergency operation in Niger, with the balance split between WFP’s work in Mali, Burkina Faso, Mauritania, Guinea and Sierra Leone.
“This donation comes as a major and timely boost to our operations in these countries,” said van Nieuwenhuyse.
“This is a desperately difficult time for many people across the region and the fact that this contribution has been made in cash means we can get food to those that need it that much quicker.”
As WFP’s two rounds of free general distributions to approximately three million people in Niger near completion, the most vulnerable will continue to receive food aid, especially young children and their mothers.
About 600,000 people in Mauritania and 500,000 in Burkina Faso have also been affected by drought, locust invasions, or both.
In Sierra Leone and neighbouring Guinea, WFP’s post-war operation is targeting over half a million people in a region that has been plagued by conflict.
Despite generosity such as that shown by the government of Turkey, WFP’s Niger operation currently faces a 40 percent shortfall and requires another US$23.5 million. Operations in the five other countries that will benefit from this donation are similarly in need of funds.
“West Africa is too often left to beg for the breadcrumbs of international assistance. There are enormous needs here in some of the poorest countries on the planet. We urge donors to support our work among the hungry, as Turkey has done,” said van Nieuwenhuyse.