Burundi: WFP undertakes to help 631,000 vulnerable people

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 years.
"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."


[This Item is Delivered to the "Africa-English" Service of the UN's IRIN humanitarian information unit, but may not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations. For further information, free subscriptions, or to change your keywords, contact e-mail: Irin@ocha.unon.org or Web: http://www.irinnews.org . If you re-print, copy, archive or re-post this item, please retain this credit and disclaimer. Reposting by commercial sites requires written IRIN permission.]

Copyright (c) UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs 2003