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UN agency launches new food programme for strife-torn Yemeni province

UN agency launches new food programme for strife-torn Yemeni province

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has launched a new $1.3 million three-month operation to aid 36,000 people displaced by fighting in north-west Yemen, cautioning that the number of those assisted could rise once security constraints are lifted and the area is fully accessible.

“Our assessment of the humanitarian situation indicated that food assistance must continue,” WFP country representative Mohamed El Kouhene said after approval of the new programme yesterday for the Sa’ada Governorate.

“However, it is hoped that during this period, a durable ceasefire agreement and a political solution to the crisis will be reached and maintained. This would enable the displaced to return to their homes and resume their regular livelihood activities,” he added.

The operation continues a WFP programme which started two months ago when 20,000 displaced people received assistance. The number of persons to receive food during the new operation has increased by 16,000 due to improved security and better access to the needy in more remote areas of the governorate.

The Yemeni Government will continue to support the operation by providing security and logistics assistance to WFP. “WFP’s first rapid response to the emergency needs in Sa’ada has been highly appreciated, and we are thankful that WFP will continue to provide food assistance for another three months due to the continuous need,” Yemeni Planning and International Cooperation Minister Abdulkarim Al-Ar’habi said.

Besides this three-month operation, WFP has a new $48-million, five-year country programme (2007-2011) for 1 million Yemenis, aimed at expanding girls’ access to education and improving the health and nutritional status of malnourished children under five, pregnant and lactating women and tuberculosis and leprosy patients. To date, the programme has received nearly $5.7 million in donations.

WFP also supplies food to over 33,000 Somali refugees in transit centres and in the Kharaz Refugee camp located in Lahj Governorate.