WFP Iraq Operation Update - May 2005

Support to Vulnerable Groups

A total of 19,196 mt of commodities (including High Energy Biscuits, wheat flour, vegetable oil and pea/wheat blend) have thus far been dispatched into Iraq under WFP's current emergency operation. The present security situation continues to affect the overland transport of food into Iraq through repeated and unexpected border and road closures. Food for Education - Approximately 3,040 mt of High Energy Biscuits have been distributed under school feeding activities. The final round of the School Feeding design competition was held on 22 May at the Ministry of Education.

Vulnerable Group Feeding- Ration cards for vulnerable group feeding have been printed and sent to Primary Healthcare Centres.

WFP and the Health Technical Team, in Basra & Baghdad jointly prepared and tested recipes using Pea Wheat Blend to introduce it to the beneficiaries and facilitate its acceptability. The food was tested in a Primary Health Center in Baghdad on 3 May and was generally well received.

Humanitarian Situation

May distribution of the PDS ration was reportedly completed in most governorates though some governorates are still distributing March and April rations.

Country-wide shortfalls in many commodities continue to be reported though comprehensive information on the PDS remains difficult to obtain.

Tests continue on contaminated wheat flour previously included in the PDS ration. Doctors in Iraq have expressed concern that it may already have been consumed with possible detrimental affects on health. MoT suspended the import of the wheat flour on 18 April, after traces of iron dust were found. This does not involve wheat flour that was procured under WFP's current operation or as part of its support to the PDS in 2003-04.

A survey on living conditions recently released by the Ministry of Planning and Development Cooperation found that conditions have not improved, and in some cases worsened, over the past year in Iraq. The survey cited electricity shortages, poor sewage systems and a lack of clean water as particularly persistent problems.

Mid - term Review

A mid-term review of the implementation of the current emergency operation was held in Amman from 30-31 May. Senior officials from Iraqi Ministries of Education, Health and Planning and Development Cooperation are attending along with representatives from UNICEF, WHO and the World Bank.

Contact: WFP Iraq Country Office -