WFP emergency food aid to 150,000 needy people curtailed by suspension of rail traffic in Rep. of Congo
Citing security reasons, Congolese authorities last month suspended all rail traffic with Pointe-Noire, the country's sole port and transit point for 40 per cent of all food imports.
WFP has been using the port of Pointe-Noire to receive food aid destined for the both the Republic of Congo (ROC) and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). With the closure of the railroad, WFP has been unable to bring to Brazzaville 3,750 metric tons of food blocked in Pointe-Noire.
WFP food stocks in Brazzaville and Kinshasa are now almost exhausted and the agency soon will be forced to halt food assistance to 120,000 hungry people in the DRC and to 10,000 Rwandan and Burundian refugees in the ROC. WFP also provides food to 21,500 vulnerable people in Brazzaville, among them 6,500 children attending feeding centres.
"We have made our concern known to the Congolese railway authorities but due to insecurity in the south of the capital, it seems that the Pointe-Noire-Brazzaville rail traffic will not resume soon ," said Rigobert Oura, WFP emergency officer in Brazzaville. "WFP is looking into the possibility of launching a limited airlift of food to meet the most pressing needs."
Since the end of the civil war in October 1997, WFP has provided more than 4,000 tons of food to some 127,000 people in the Republic of Congo. In Kinshasa, WFP is feeding 120,000 of the most vulnerable people--children under the age of five, lactating and pregnant women and hospital patients -- affected by the recent fighting in the DRC capital.
The World Food Programme is the United Nation's front-line agency in the fight against global hunger. Last year, its relief workers fed 53 million people, including most of the world's refugees. Headquartered in Rome, Italy, WFP has operations in 76 countries around the world.
For further information, please contact :
Emergency Officer, WFP/Brazzaville
Tel. +243 88 40 705 or +871 761 352 243
Officer in Charge, WFP/Kinshasa
Tel. +243 88 03 930 or +873 685 051 330
Information Officer, WFP/Abidjan
Tel. +225 21 17 09 or 21 42 42
Revised: October 30, 1998
=A9: 1998, World Food Programme. All rights reserved.