DONATION TO TAJIKISTAN CEMENTS WFP PARTNERSHIP WITH TURKEY
The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) welcomed a cash donation of US$150,000 from the Republic of Turkey. The donation was used to procure 161 metric tons of fortified vegetable oil to assist tens of thousands of people living in remote and impoverished areas of Tajikistan. The first cargo is expected to arrive in Dushanbe this week.
“We welcome this donation from a country that has consistently shown its support for WFP’s work,” said John Powell, WFP’s Deputy Executive Director for Fundraising and Communications.
The donation comes at a crucial time for WFP’s operations in Tajikistan, which is ranked as one of the poorest countries in Central Asia. Funding shortfalls are forcing WFP to scale down its general food distributions to 200,000 beneficiaries, as well as other activities so as to concentrate the scarce available resources on school feeding, nutrition and health activities.
“This is the third largest regional operation after Afghanistan and Iraq, but we are facing a severe funding problem which is preventing us from continuing,” said Ismail Omer, WFP Country Director in Tajikistan.
Turkey’s donor relationship with WFP goes back to the 1960s, when Turkey first began giving in-kind contributions to the humanitarian agency’s worldwide operations.
“The donation of US$150,000 from the government of Turkey to the World Food Programme is to assist the UN organization in its efforts to alleviate hunger in the world and, in particular, to help those countries in neighbouring regions which are facing harsh economic difficulties,” said Asim Arar, who heads the Multilateral Economic Affairs Department in Turkey’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
At the end of 2002, in the run-up to the war in Iraq, WFP opened its office in Ankara as Turkey became one of WFP’s six essential transport corridors into Iraq. The others are Syria, Jordan, Kuwait, Iran and the Iraqi port of Um Qasr.
WFP delivered food through the six corridors starting from April 2003. By the end of October 2003, it had transported over 2.1 million tons of food, by far the largest food assistance ever delivered over such a short period of time, to assist the whole population of some 26 million people. Out of this, nearly half a million metric tons were delivered through Silopi, on Turkey’s border with Iraq, representing 24 percent of the total deliveries in 2003.
“The government of Turkey was very supportive in assisting WFP’s operations in Iraq by facilitating the administrative procedures and enabling the rapid delivery of food assistance,” said Amir Abdulla, WFP’s Regional Director in Cairo for the Middle East, Eastern Europe and the Caucasus.
Out of the food delivered by WFP to Iraq through the Turkish corridor in 2003 and 2004, some 50 percent was purchased domestically, with Turkish transporters moving it into northern Iraq.
WFP is the world's largest humanitarian agency: in 2003 we gave food aid to a record 104 million people in 81 countries, including 56 million hungry children.
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