Thousands of refugees in Ecuador receive food under large-scale UN operation

9 September 2005

In the largest such operation in the region since the Central American civil wars of the 1980s, the United Nations refugee agency and the UN World Food Programme (WFP) today announced the start of a food distribution programme for 6,300 mainly Colombian refugees and asylum-seekers in Ecuador.

In the largest such operation in the region since the Central American civil wars of the 1980s, the United Nations refugee agency and the UN World Food Programme (WFP) today announced the start of a food distribution programme for 6,300 mainly Colombian refugees and asylum-seekers in Ecuador.

The operation is a 10-fold expansion of an existing programme funded by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), which provided rations for 600 people. The agency hopes that the increased rations will guarantee food security for vulnerable families in exile in four provinces in the north, two cities in the south, as well as Santo Domingo de los Colorados and the capital, Quito.

"UNHCR is proud to participate in this initiative, the largest joint achievement of two UN agencies in Ecuador," UNHCR country representative José Euceda said.

The first distribution started in Ibarra last week, when 310 food packages were loaded onto trucks bound for the northern province of Carchi. Another convoy left for Esmeraldas the following day, while more trucks left from distribution centres in Quito and Lago Agrio.

The distributions will continue regularly, weekly in places with high demand, for one year.

 

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