Nepal + 1 more

Food aid for Nepal and Sri Lanka

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Acting Foreign Minister Helen Clark announced today that $1 million in assistance will be made available from NZAID to support the United Nations World Food programme's (WFP) work in Nepal and Sri Lanka. The funding comes from the baseline funding for New Zealand.

"Reflecting our concern at the deepening crises in these countries, New Zealand will provide $500,000 to the WFP appeal in Nepal and a further $500,000 to the agency's work in Sri Lanka," Helen Clark said.

"The WFP plans to provide much needed food aid to nearly 1.9 million people in Nepal, who are faced with hunger and the fear of starvation. New Zealand's contribution recognises our long standing links with the people of Nepal, and the pressing need to maintain a regular flow of basic food to those who need it.

"The focus of the WFP's efforts will be people affected by conflict and helping them to recover through the development of critical infrastructure, programmes to feed children at school and work focussed on caring for mothers and babies. High fuel prices and the monsoon season have made delivering assistance to these people increasingly difficult.

"The $500,000 allocation towards the WFP's appeal in Sri Lanka also seeks to address the needs of those facing food shortages due to conflict.

"It is estimated that there are currently 230,000 people in Sri Lanka who have been forced to leave their homes due to fighting. Security concerns and restrictions on the importation of food, fuel, medicines and equipment have hampered relief efforts.

"Due to conflict many people in Nepal and Sri Lanka are now in a situation where they are struggling to feed their families. The support provided by New Zealand, as part of wider international efforts, will help provide some relief for those who need it most," Helen Clark said.

The World Food Programme is the United Nations' frontline agency in the fight against global hunger. Its operations aim to save lives in refugee crises and other emergencies and improve the nutrition and quality of life for the world's most vulnerable people.

For more information visit www.wfp.org.