New York, NY (BBN)– The United Nations World Food Program (WFP) today sent nearly 100 metric tons of urgently-needed food to north-west Pakistan as part of an innovative new scheme to help the more than 2 million people displaced by clashes between the government and militants.
WFP’s shipment of a highly nutritious supplement called Plumpy’Doz – a peanut paste containing skim milk, sugar, vitamins and minerals – will be distributed to children under five years of age.
The agency, along with the Pakistani Government and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), will hand out Plumpy’Doz as part of a ‘service point’ approach, in which supplies will be distributed through 28 ‘humanitarian hubs’ in protected areas close to the homes of uprooted families.
“Food is a basic building block for life, and in Pakistan, it goes beyond immediate nourishment by providing peace and stability to the human tide of people uprooted by conflict,” said Josette Sheeran, WFP Executive Director.
Prior to the recent crisis, which started on 2 May and drove nearly 2 million people from their homes, WFP was already feeding more than 6 million people in Pakistan.
Clashes last August displaced some 500,000 people, bringing the total number of uprooted in the north-west of the South Asian nation to an estimated 2.6 million, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
Fewer than 10 per cent of internally displaced persons (IDPs) are living in nearly two dozen camps, many of which are overcrowded, and the humanitarian hubs are situated within easy reach of host communities.
Ms. Sheeran stressed that WFP is ready to take new approaches to reach the large displaced population in the coming months. In May alone, the agency distributed 40,000 metric tons of food – enough to feed 2.6 million people for one month – valued at $40 million.
Meanwhile, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs John Holmes on Thursday designated Martin Mogwanja, who served as the Representative in Pakistan for the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) since January 2007, as the new UN Humanitarian Coordinator for the country.
Mr. Mogwanja has also served as UNICEF’s Uganda Representative for six years as well as Humanitarian Coordinator in that country.
BBN/SS/SI/AD-05June09-12:18 am (BST)