NAIROBI, 6 March (IRIN) - The World
Food Programme (WFP) has signed a letter of understanding with the Burundi
government to provide the country with food aid for some 631,000 vulnerable
people under a protracted relief and recovery operation spanning three
"With adequate funding, WFP plans to distribute 248,920 tonnes of food aid, amounting to over US $164 million," Karine Strebelle, the WFP's reports and information officer, told IRIN on Wednesday.
WFP Country Director Mustapha Darboe and Burundi Foreign Minister Terence Sinunguruza signed the agreement on Tuesday, in the capital, Bujumbura.
WFP said that in Burundi food aid was designed "to save lives by improving and maintaining the nutritional status of targeted vulnerable populations". These are refugees, returnees, internally displaced persons (IDPs), hospital in-patients and expectant and nursing mothers. Others are the elderly, street children, those affected by HIV/AIDS, and the handicapped. Such people were vulnerable because of hunger, malnutrition and poverty, it said.
Food aid would also go towards facilitating the repatriation of Burundian refugees and helping refugees from the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
In Burundi, the targeted feeding of food-insecure people would be the largest relief component of the protracted relief and recovery effort, WFP said.
"If peace holds," Strebelle said, "a gradual increase in recovery and resettlement operations will follow the repatriation and resettlement of refugees and IDPs."
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