Eritrea: Regional Administration of Gash Barka, UNHCR and WFP sign letter of understanding for recovery activities

Joint Press Release
Asmara, 4 February 2003 - UNHCR, WFP and the Regional Administration of Gash Barka today concluded a Letter of Understanding focusing on recovery activities in the Gash Barka Zone of western Eritrea. The parties agreed to several important measures that include technical assessments, joint work plans and programming that focus on the food and nutritional needs of refugees returning to the region and the communities receiving them.

A key element of the UNHCR, WFP and Regional Administration recovery strategy is the promotion of activities designed to enable the returnees from Sudan to reintegrate in a sustainable manner through support to agriculture and rehabilitation of the economic and social infrastructure in the communities of return. The LoU takes into account the specific needs of those who may not have seen their homeland in over thirty years, and are thus particularly vulnerable. Appropriate programmes aimed at developing food production, employment generation and enhancing local capacity are crucial to the sustainability of the return of the more than 103,000 individuals who have repatriated from July 2000 to date, and the additional numbers expected in the coming year.

With this agreement, WFP joins the Gash Barka Zonal Recovery Committee, which is chaired by the Governor of Gash Barka and includes UNHCR, UNDP and UNICEF amongst its members.

Further details on the Letter of Understanding and projects planned or being carried out within the framework of the Recovery Programme are available from UNHCR and WFP:

UNHCR: Mr. Cristian Koch, Deputy Chief of Mission, Tel. 126121, E-mail:
WFP: Mr. Mamadou Mbaye, Deputy Country Director. Tel: 184735, E-mail: