Sierra Leone

Sierra leone Update: CARE delivers food to thousands of Displaced People in Masanga

ATLANTA (March 23, 2000) -- In Sierra Leone, CARE, working in partnership with three other relief agencies, today delivered 67 tons of emergency food rations and supplies for 4,500 people in the small town of Masanga, located approximately 16 miles southeast of Makeni.
"This is the first such distribution to be undertaken in the area by humanitarian agencies for almost 18 months," says Nick Webber, CARE's director in Sierra Leone. "Operations have been severely constrained by insecurity."

In addition to distributing emergency food and supplies, CARE staff completed registration of internally displaced people in Masanga. During the registration process, CARE issued identification cards to people in need of emergency relief supplies. The card entitles them to receive enough food and supplies to last one month.

"This distribution was considered extremely important as a substantially large number of identified beneficiaries are lepers who do not possess or have access to survival coping mechanisms that others may have," adds Webber.

The food - wheat, vegetable oil and lentils - and supplies were distributed to people who were forced to flee their homes during Sierra Leone's 9-year war between the government and Revolutionary United Front rebels. The two sides signed a peace agreement on July 7.

"The humanitarian situation in this area has been of great concern to the government," says Webber. "CARE's registration of families will enable expeditious delivery of both emergency food rations and other essentials to those most in need."

About CARE

CARE, one of the world's largest international relief and development organizations, has implemented extensive projects in rural road building, the provision of high-yield rice seed and the restoration of housing and food crops in Sierra Leone. CARE began working in Sierra Leone in 1961, initially focusing on improving child nutritional status through school feeding programs.

CONTACT: Allen Clinton, (404) 681-4579, ext. 206