UN food agency plans 6-month emergency operation in Bangladesh

UN food agency plans 6-month emergency operation in Bangladesh

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The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) today announced a $52 million, six-month plan to provide emergency aid to 2.2 million Bangladeshis affected by the recent cyclone.

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) today announced a $52 million, six-month plan to provide emergency aid to 2.2 million Bangladeshis affected by the recent cyclone.

The aim is to avoid a repeat of the surge in malnutrition rates that typically follows a cyclone in Bangladesh, the agency said. “This time, WFP will start longer-term distributions to families with hopes of preventing increases in malnutrition throughout the region,” said WFP Executive Director Josette Sheeran.

“While immediate food aid such as high energy biscuits continue to be rushed into the cyclone-hit areas, WFP is now ready to begin a longer-term, more comprehensive food assistance programme that will get nutritious foods directly to the children who need it the most,” said WFP Bangladesh Representative Douglas Broderick.

The emergency operation will follow the work of a just-completed UN assessment which found that there are approximately 4.7 million people in the worst affected districts and 2.2 million people are in need of immediate food assistance.

When the cyclone hit on 15 November, affecting more than 4 million Bangladeshis, WFP rushed in aid to thousands of the most vulnerable victims. The agency has delivered more than 300 metric tons of biscuits and more than 430 tons of rice to those in need.

UN agency provides seeds and tools to over 110,000 farmers in southern Africa

Aiming to secure the next harvest in three Southern African countries, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has distributed over 1,000 tons of seeds, as well as fertilizer and tools, to over 110,000 poor farmers in the region.

“The more we can support quality farm outputs and help diversify crops and strengthen capacities, the fewer people will need food aid and other handouts next season,” said Anne Bauer, Director of FAO's Emergency Operations and Rehabilitation Division.

The $7 million operation in in Lesotho, Mozambique and Swaziland should service an estimated 50,000 hectares of crops, the agency said.

The relief was distributed using a voucher system pioneered the non-governmental organization Catholic Relief Services which allowed farmers attending mobile fairs to choose what to purchase among the seeds, fertilizer, tools and tillage services on offer.

The aid comes to a region hit by a high death toll from AIDS which has left many rural households and orphans in the care of grandparents. Farmers there must also cope with crop failure caused by successive years of drought and inclement weather.