Congo: WFP needs 4,000 mt of food for displaced people

NAIROBI, 14 January (IRIN) - The UN World Food Programme (WFP) said on Tuesday that it urgently needed 4,000 mt of food to assist people displaced by the current fighting in the Republic of Congo. The agency said the food would sustain at least 30,000 people until mid-2003.
The number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) WFP is assisting has increased 100 percent since October 2002, when fighting resumed near the capital, Brazzaville, the agency's Nairobi office said. WFP said it was concerned about the increasing number of IDPs in need of food aid.

In December 2002, at least 1,800 IDPs escaped from the conflict area, and arrived in camps to seek safety and help. The influx of such people continues daily.

If no donations are provided urgently, WFP fears that by March 2003, food rations will be reduced from the standard level of 2,167 kilocalories per person per day to 1,500 kilocalories. Further cuts will be imposed until all stocks are exhausted, at which point the programme will be suspended.

"The living conditions of these people are very precarious," Sory Ouane, WFP's country director for the Republic of Congo, said. "They fled fighting bringing absolutely nothing with them. Their survival depends on the provision of relief food. We already have cases of malnutrition among children and elderly people. Their lives are at stake if we are forced to suspend operations for lack of funds."


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