Saturday, July 01, 2006

(East Timor Problems) UN food program forced to cut supplies

"The United Nations says funding shortages have forced it to cut back food rations to an estimated 150,000 people who have fled their homes in East Timor.
UN spokeswoman Kym Sithies says there is still enough rice to go around, but relief agencies have had to cut back on supplementary supplies of food, which add nutritional value to the meagre diet.
The UN World Food Program (WFP) has so far only received $US2.2million of the $US5.2 million it sought in an emergency appeal to donors.
"The problem is the delay, in some cases, and lack of funds from other donors," Tarek Elguindi, WFP country director for East Timor, said.
"Children are born weak and they are surviving, but any shock that comes will break them."
The WFP began cutting some rations on Friday.
The price of rice has risen by 60% in some areas amid short supplies, markets have closed and household chicken stocks have nearly halved as families struggle to make ends meet.
There are 66 camps in the capital, Dili, alone where people began fleeing in late April after fighting between rival factions of the security forces sparked gang warfare.
UN humanitarian coordinator Finn Reske-Nielsen says "the displaced population is incredibly vulnerable and the camps have the potential to become flashpoints if we cannot continue to provide basic humanitarian needs".
The crisis sparked the resignation of prime minister Mari Alkatiri. His successor has not yet been appointed."
If you want to make a donation to the UN World Food Program in East Timor, click here (and select East Timor from the drop down menu).
Category: Timor-Leste (East Timor)

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