Sunday, August 16, 2009

U.S. Government supports early return of displaced persons with another $15 million in emergency food aid

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has announced a new gift of $15 million (Rs. 1.724 billion) of food aid to support the early return of people displaced by the disagreement in the North. Consisting of wheat, lentils and vegetable oil, USAID's second shipment of vital foodstuff aid this year will be consigned to the United Nations World Food Program (WFP) and will fulfill the necessary food needs of 300,000 people for four months.
With this latest donation, USAID, the development agency of the U.S. Government, has provided nearly $59 million (Rs 6.78 billion) of food aid in 2008 and 2009. Recognizing the U.S. Government's important support to assist displaced populace, in July, the Hon. Basil Rajapaksa, M.P. and Special Advisor to the leader, received a symbolic handing over of crisis food aid from U.S. Charg‚ d'Affaires James R. Moore and USAID Mission Director Rebecca Cohn.
"USAID supports WFP and the Government of Sri Lanka in their efforts to provide essential food aid to Sri Lankans who have been displaced by the conflict," stated USAID Mission Director Rebecca Cohn. "Our food donation will hold up the Government of Sri Lanka's promise to return displaced citizens to their homes quickly and safely. As part of this support, our food will be used for the six-month ration that people take delivery of once they go back to their homes. In addition, our food may be used for short-term, food-for-work behavior to help the most vulnerable of these people resume their livelihoods," she continued.
Coordinating with the Government of Sri Lanka and operational with non-governmental partners, WFP distributes food aid from USAID and other donors to people in provisional IDP camps and provides a six-month share when IDPs return home. v"This very generous donation from the United States comes at a critical juncture," said Adnan Khan, WFP Country Representative. "It will allow WFP to carry on providing much-needed food and nutritional support to the IDP population and add to their food security. We are very grateful to the United States, WFP's largest donor, for this latest payment, which reaffirms a commitment to partnering with the Government of Sri Lanka and to the humanitarian collection of people in peace building and rebuilding efforts."
The American people, through the U.S. Agency for International Development, have provided development and caring help in developing countries worldwide for almost 50 years. Since 1956, USAID/Sri Lanka has invested nearly $2 billion to benefit all the people of Sri Lanka.

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