More than $15 million needed to help Azerbaijan’s displaced – UN food agency chief

28 July 2006

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) will run out of supplies in a month for more than 130,000 Azerbaijanis displaced by the conflict with neighbouring Armenia over the disputed region of Nagorny-Karabakh unless it receives an urgent injection of funds, the agency said today.

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) will run out of supplies in a month for more than 130,000 Azerbaijanis displaced by the conflict with neighbouring Armenia over the disputed region of Nagorny-Karabakh unless it receives an urgent injection of funds, the agency said today.

In a statement issued in the capital Baku, WFP launched an appeal for $15.6 million to provide those Azerbaijanis, mainly women and children, with 27,000 tons of food aid over the next two years through June 2008.

The agency noted it has already been forced to cut rations twice this year because of funding shortfalls, and last September the WFP assistance programme was briefly brought to a complete halt.

WFP Executive Director James Morris said Azerbaijan’s displaced population has been largely forgotten as international media attention and relief efforts focus on other conflicts.

“These are people who had normal lives one day and nothing the next,” he said, referring to the armed conflict ending in 1994 that forced more than 600,000 Azerbaijanis to flee the region and head to remote areas in their country’s west, where job opportunities are extremely limited.

A survey conducted by WFP last year found that only 40 per cent of affected households have access to agricultural land and in those that do most of the produce grown is for basic subsistence only.

 

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