EU makes largest donation to WFP's new food aid project for poor Palestinians

JERUSALEM - Today the European Union made the largest donation to the United Nations World Food Programme's new operation in the occupied Palestinian territory, giving €8 million (approx. US $10 million) to provide food assistance for almost half a million poor Palestinians.

The fragile Palestinian economy has been crumbling under strict Israeli security measures, and the erection of a barrier around the majority of the West Bank. These measures have weakened an already shaky economy and made tens of thousands of Palestinian workers unemployed.

"WFP welcomes the very timely donation of the EuropeAid Cooperation Office of the European Union. It will enable us to purchase food before our new operation starts in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt)," said WFP's Country Director Arnold Vercken.

In September 2005, WFP will launch a new two-year operation aimed at providing 154,000 tons of food assistance to 135,500 Palestinians in the Gaza strip and 344,500 in the West Bank.

Over the past few years, the EU has been a solid supporter of WFP's work in the occupied Palestinian territory. This latest contribution constitutes nearly 12 percent of the US $80 million required for this operation. Other donations have come from the United States, almost $1 million, plus other multilateral donors.

WFP is the world's largest humanitarian agency: each year, we give food to an average of 90 million poor people to meet their nutritional needs, including 56 million hungry children, in at least 80 of the world's poorest countries. WFP -- We Feed People.

WFP Global School Feeding Campaign - For just 19 US cents a day, you can help WFP give children in poor countries a healthy meal at school - a gift of hope for a brighter future.

For more information please contact:

Arnold Vercken, WFP Jerusalem, mobile: +972-54 666 5003, e-mail: Arnold.Vercken@wfp.org

Raheek Rinawi, WFP Jerusalem, mobile: +972-52 265 2991, e-mail: Raheek.Rinawi@wfp.org

Khaled Mansour, WFP Cairo, mobile: +20-122-348671, e-mail: Khaled.Mansour@wfp.org

Simon Pluess, WFP/Geneva, mobile: +41-797743821, e-mail: Simon.Pluess@wfp.org

Trevor Rowe, WFP/New York, mobile: +1-6468241112, e-mail: rowe@un.org

Gregory Barrow, WFP/London, mobile: +44-7968-008474, e-mail: Gregory.Barrow@wfp.org

Robin Lodge, WFP/Rome, mobile: +39-340-8662992, e-mail: Robin.Lodge@wfp.org