US food assistance program launches its second distribution in Issyk-Kul, Naryn, Jalal-Abad, and Osh Oblasts of Kyrgyzstan

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On November 10, 2009, Mrs. Lauren Perlaza, Cultural Affairs Officer of the U.S. Embassy to the Kyrgyz Republic will open the official launch of the second food distribution in Ak-Olon village, Ton District, Issyk-Kul Oblast of the Kyrgyz Republic. Mr. Memmott will be joined by Mr. Kydykbek Isaev, Governor of Issyk-Kul Oblast, Mr. Suvanaliev Omurbek, Governor of Naryn Oblast, and Ms Catherine Brown, Country Director, Mercy Corps Kyrgyzstan in welcoming program beneficiaries and invited media.

This assistance from the American people is through a USAID/OFDA-funded Food Assistance Program implemented by Mercy Corps and Save the Children in Issyk-Kul, Naryn, Jalal-Abad, and Osh Oblasts of Kyrgyzstan. The program is launching the second pre-winter distribution of food commodities. Working in close collaboration with the Government of Kyrgyzstan and the United Nations' World Food Program, the first distribution started on August 13, 2009 and continued with intensive food distribution activities from August - September 2009.

The goal of the USAID Food Assistance Program in Kyrgyzstan is to improve food security for the most vulnerable children and households living below the poverty line in four regions of the country with particular focus on families with pregnant women and children under five years of age. Each participating household receives a total of 100 kilograms of fortified wheat flour, 20 liters of vegetable oil, and 20 kilograms of beans during the first and second distributions.

The program uses locally procured goods - which stimulates local economic development and ensures proper quality of procured food commodities. Kyrgyzstan is leading the world in changing how humanitarian aid is delivered while stimulating the Kyrgyz economy in the process.

To support the initial plan of the Food Assistance Program, Mercy Corps Kyrgyzstan conducted the first distribution in August - September 2009 and distributed 1,142 metric tons of commodities to 32,648 beneficiaries. The second pre-winter distribution, which is planned for November - December 2009, will provide more than 6,297 metric tons of fortified flour, vegetable oil, and beans. In addition, Mercy Corps Kyrgyzstan has also developed and published a Bean Recipe Book that will help households to receive maximum nutrition and caloric value from the beans distributed. The Bean Recipe Book will be distributed to all families receiving aid.