Dubai – Masaader News
The United Nations food relief agency to broaden its emergency operation in the war-ravaged Kasai region in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
To prevent famine in the Kasai region, the World Food Programme (WFP) is stepping-up cash distributions to the most vulnerable, and specialist support to check acute malnutrition in women and young children.
“The nutrition and cash programmes are life-saving, and must quickly expand,” Claude Jibidar, WFP’s Representative in DRC, said Friday.
Since last week’s cash initiative launch – a cost-efficient alternative to in-kind support that allows beneficiaries to buy what they want in recovering local markets – 38,000 people have each received the equivalent of $15 for a month, enough to meet their basic food needs with the intention to more than double that reach in the coming weeks.
“We’re not doing nearly as much as we could in Kasai because the obstacles are huge,” Mr. Jibidar continued, “but unless we collectively rise to the challenges, many more people, including the weakest women and children, will die.”
Plumpy’Sup, a micronutrient-rich ready-to-use supplementary food, has been airlifted from France to enable a significant scale-up of WFP’s nutrition interventions in Kasai. Up from 21,000 in the final quarter of last year, 56,000 malnourished children were reached there in January with the expectation of a 20,000 a month increase to 140,000 by June.
Following the eruption of brutal political and ethnic violence in mid-2016, which claimed countless lives, razed entire villages and forced hundreds of thousands of families from their homes, WFP launched its assistance programme.
Assessments showed that 3.2 million people, a quarter of the region’s population of mostly subsistence farmers, were desperately short of food.