Sierra Leone

As access gradually improves in Sierra Leone, WFP delivers emergency food aid to 17,000 people affected by the fighting

News Release, February 23, 2000
ABIDJAN -- As more and more regions of Sierra Leone become accessible to aid agencies, the United Nations World Food Programme is distributing a one-month food ration to more than 17,500 desperately needy people displaced by the fighting and returning in Lower Yoni chiefdom in the Tonkilili district, over 100 km east of the capital, Freetown.

In collaboration with CARE and local NGOs Future in Our Hands, SHARE, FHADA, WFP will hand out 270 metric tons of food in 9 distribution centres throughout Lower Yoni chiefdom.

Lower Yoni was severely affected by last year's fighting and remained, most of 1999, inaccessible to humanitarian agencies. Due to low level harvests and mass looting of already scarce food supplies, Tonkolili district chiefdoms populations are exposed to a high risk of food shortages.

"Recent assessments showed that more than half of the 34,000 people living in Lower Yoni had little or no access to food, as most farmers were prevented from planting last year " said Patrick Buckley, WFP Representative in Sierra Leone. "Our aim is to support vulnerable families, encouraging them to resume farming."

Last year, WFP delivered over 14,000 metric tons of food aid to Sierra Leone. The aid agency fed every month on average 105,000 people through its vulnerable group feeding, school feeding, training, agriculture, nutrition and road rehabilitation programmes.

As access and the population living conditions continue to improve, WFP in collaboration with partner agencies will seek to develop longer-term programmes supporting agriculture, basic education and training centres and moving away from emergency interventions.

The World Food Programme is the United Nations' front-line agency in the fight against global hunger. In 1999 WFP fed more than 86 million people in 82 countries - more than half were girls and women.

For more information, please contact:

Patrick Buckley
Representative WFP/Freetown
Tel.: +232 22 22 23 95

Wagdi Othman
Information Officer WFP/Abidjan
Tel.: +225 20 214242 or 05 96 20 68

=A9: 2000, World Food Programme. All rights reserved.