The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) announced today that a record two million tons of food have been delivered to Iraq since its emergency operation started on 1 April.
“This is the largest amount of food assistance ever delivered in a single emergency operation over such a brief period,” said WFP Executive Director James Morris. “The task of providing such volumes of food aid to the entire population of Iraq over seven months is an incredible achievement carried out under very difficult circumstances.”
In a dispatch from WFP headquarters in Rome, the agency said it provided up to 500,000 tons of food – or some 20,000 truckloads – every month through Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Kuwait, Iran, Jordan and the Iraqi port of Um Qasr, supplying 18 governorates inside Iraq.
With the logistics operations now being scaled down, only Jordan, Syria and Um Qasr, remain active, the agency said.
As WFP completes its emergency operation at the end of October, the focus has shifted to gradually handing over the supply chain of the Public Distribution System to the United States-led Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) and the Iraqi Ministry of Trade (MOT), the WFP said. Part of WFP’s role in ensuring a steady supply of food into Iraq is the renegotiation of Oil-for-Food contracts under Security Council Resolution 1483.
Since August, WFP has negotiated 294 contracts for 2.2 million tons of food valued at more than $900 million for delivery into Iraq through June 2004, the agency said.
“Although Iraq has benefited from a better cereal harvest and the lifting of economic sanctions, much of the country’s population is poor and still in need of assistance, according to a recent FAO/WFP food supply and nutrition assessment,” the statement said. “While a food crisis has been averted, the nutritional situation of several million mothers and children in central and southern Iraq is still cause for concern.”