WFP distributes food and cash to drought-stricken communities

Thursday, 2 October 2014 00:39 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) yesterday said it has begun relief operations to bring food assistance to tens of thousands of Sri Lankans affected by recent drought. WFP is providing food or cash for approximately 190,000 people in urgent need of assistance, the UN agency said in a release. A WFP-led Rapid Drought Assessment has estimated that as many as 770,000 people have been affected by the drought, which has resulted in the loss of about one third of the paddy harvest in parts of the country. WFP’s assistance includes over $ 2.3 million worth of food, such as rice, beans and vegetable oil, as well as $ 277,500 in cash for affected families to buy their own food. The Government has partly provided rice supplies for the operation while the Government of Canada has provided a cash donation to cover additional costs, according to the WFP. The operation is also funded by the UN Central Emergency Response Fund. With the help of the Ministries of Finance and Economic Planning, Economic Development and Disaster Management, Government Agents and Divisional Secretariat, WFP has delivered food to distribution centers in the ten affected districts. Several international charities, including Save the Children, World Vision, ChildFund and OXFAM are also working with WFP to distribute the food and cash in five of the targeted districts. “WFP is always determined to assist people affected by climate shock in Sri Lanka and after responding to the short-term needs of those affected by drought, WFP will redouble its efforts to support the affected people to rebuild resilience through food for work programs,” said Ismail Omer, WFP Representative in Sri Lanka. After responding to the short-term needs of those affected by the drought, WFP said it will work to help communities increase their resilience against future shocks through food-for-work programs. The programs will focus on rebuilding the lives of those who have lost their harvests and livelihood assets. WFP said it will continue working with the Government and other partners towards its longer-term goals of mitigating the effects of climate change and recurrent drought in the country. These will include cash- or food-for-work projects such as rainwater harvesting and de-silting small water reservoirs, as well as tree planting to prevent soil erosion and land degradation.