UN agency hails largest donation so far to new food plan for Palestinian territory

1 August 2005

The United Nations World Food Programme today announced the largest donation so far to its new operation in the occupied Palestinian territory, €8 million (about $10 million) from the European Union (EU) to provide food aid for almost half a million poor Palestinians.

"WFP welcomes the very timely donation of the EuropeAid Cooperation Office of the European Union. It will enable us to purchase food before our new operation starts," WFP's Country Director Arnold Vercken said.

In September the agency will launch a new two-year operation aimed at providing 154,000 tons of food assistance to 135,500 Palestinians in the Gaza strip and 344,500 in the West Bank.

The fragile Palestinian economy has been crumbling under strict Israeli security measures and the erection of a barrier around the majority of the West Bank. These measures have weakened an already shaky economy and made tens of thousands of Palestinian workers unemployed.

Over the past few years, the EU has been a solid supporter of WFP's work in the occupied Palestinian territory. This latest contribution constitutes nearly 12 per cent of the $80 million required for this operation. Other donations have come from the United States – almost $1 million – and other multilateral donors.