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WFP welcomes Turkey's donation to earthquake relief

WFP welcomes a US$750,000 cash contribution from the government of Turkey to help provide food assistance to the survivors of the massive earthquake that hit Pakistan earlier this month.

WFP has welcomed a US$750,000 cash contribution from the government of Turkey to help provide food assistance to the survivors of the massive earthquake that hit Pakistan earlier this month.

“We are grateful for this donation at a time when the lack of funding is limiting our access to the victims of this catastrophe,” said Amir Abdulla, WFP’s Regional Director in Cairo for the Middle East, Eastern Europe and the Caucasus.

Active and reliable

We are grateful for this donation at a time when the lack of funding is limiting our access to the victims of this catastrophe
Amir Abdulla, WFP’s Regional Director in Cairo for the Middle East, Eastern Europe and the Caucasus
Turkey has increasingly become an active and reliable donor to WFP. Three months ago, the country donated a total of US$1.8 million to the UN food aid agency’s emergency operations in six African countries: Niger, Mali, Mauritania, Burkina Faso, Sierra Leone and Guinea.

In 2004, Turkey made a US$ 150,000 cash contribution which was used to procure 161 metric tons of fortified vegetable oil to assist WFP beneficiaries in Tajikistan.

“Turkey is clearly aware of the dangers that funding shortages are creating for relief organizations like WFP which are fully dependent on voluntary contributions to work in areas hit by man-made or natural disasters,” added Abdulla.

Funding shortfall

Since the earthquake struck on 8 October, WFP has been able to send more than 5,700 metric tons of food using planes, helicopters, trucks, rafts and pack mules to hundreds of thousands of affected people.

WFP believes up to 2.3 million people will need food assistance until the spring of 2006. To date, WFP has received only 23 percent of the US$56 million it needs to run an emergency operation to feed one million of the most vulnerable people.

WFP has also warned that its special operations to provide air support and logistics services to the humanitarian aid community are also under-funded and the UN organization may be forced to ground its relief helicopters in less than two weeks because of lack of funds.

In-kind contributions

Turkey’s donor relationship with WFP goes back to the 1960s, when Ankara first began giving in-kind contributions to the humanitarian agency’s worldwide operations.

At the end of 2002, in the run-up to the war in Iraq, WFP opened its office in Ankara as Turkey became one of WFP’s six essential transport corridors into Iraq.

Nearly half a million metric tons were delivered through Silopi, on Turkey’s border with Iraq, representing 24 percent of the total deliveries in 2003.