Azerbaijan

Donation to WFP shows Japan's continued support for the displaced in Azerbaijan

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Baku - The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) today welcomed a US$100,000 cash contribution from the Japanese Government to assist the poorest among internally displaced people (IDPs) in Azerbaijan.

"The displaced people we are assisting are those still not able to regain their livelihoods and who need continued humanitarian support" said Lynne Miller, WFP's Country Director in Azerbaijan.

"Japan has always shown support for the people WFP assists around the world and we are sincerely grateful that Japan has come forward with this latest contribution to our operation in Azerbaijan," she added.

The donation will go to buy 192 metric tons of wheat flour which will provide a two-month ration for 16,000 people. Distributions will start in July.

"The Embassy of Japan hopes that the project contributes to the strengthening of the collaborative relationship between the Government of Japan and WFP, and that the wheat flour will benefit those people who are internally displaced and who still depend on food assistance," said H.E. Mr. Tadahiro Abe, Ambassador Extraordinary and plenipotentiary of Japan to Azerbaijan.

Japan is on of WFP's most generous donors with an average annual contribution to WFP over the past ten years of US$127 million. Since 2001, Japan has given US$2.7 million to WFP's operation in Azerbaijan.

"The Azerbaijan government has shown huge commitment to the needs of the internally displaced people and as the country's economy improves, WFP will be able to handover the workload to the Government. However, the continued financial support from donors is crucial during this period of transition," Miller stressed.

WFP's current two-year operation in Azerbaijan, which assists 154,000 people, is facing a 67 per cent shortfall in funding which could force WFP to suspend its operations in the country unless more donors come forward.

WFP started operations in Azerbaijan in 1994 with an emergency operation targeting over half a million people displaced by conflict. Gradually a large number of the IDPs moved to urban areas and WFP shifted its attentions to assisting those who remained in rural areas and are the most vulnerable. From 1994 until mid-2006, WFP has provided around 141,000 metric tons of food at a total cost of over US$107 million.

WFP is the world's largest humanitarian agency: each year, we give food to an average of 90 million poor people to meet their nutritional needs, including 58 million hungry children, in at least 80 of the world's poorest countries. WFP -- We Feed People..

WFP now provides RSS feeds to help journalists keep up with the latest press releases, videos and photos as they are published on WFP.org. For more details see: http://www.wfp.org/english/?n=999.

WFP now has a dedicated ISDN line in Italy for quality two-way interviews with WFP officials.

For more information please contact (email address: firstname.lastname@wfp.org):

Lynne Miller, WFP/Baku, Tel. +99412-4938096, Mob. +99450-2019992

Mia Turner, WFP/Cairo, Tel. +20-2-25281730, ext 2601, Mob. +20-122455769

Brenda Barton, Deputy Director of Communications, WFP/Rome, Tel. +39-06-65132602, Cell. +39-3472582217 (ISDN line available)

Gregory Barrow, WFP/London, Tel.. +44-20-72409001, Cell. +44-7968-008474

Christiane Berthiaume, WFP/Geneva, Tel. +41-22-9178564, Cell. +41-792857304

Cécile Sportis, WFP/Paris, Tel. +33-1-70385330, Cell. +33-6161-68266

Jennifer Parmelee, WFP/Washington, Tel. +1-202-6530010 ext. 1149, Mob. +1-202-4223383

Bettina Luescher, WFP/New York, Tel. +1-212-9635196, Cell. +1-646-8241112, luescher@un.org