BANDA ACEH - The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) announced today a ground-breaking donation from the Czech Republic in support of its efforts to assist more than 500,000 people affected by the tsunami in Indonesia.
The donation of US$370,000 resulted in the purchase of 410 metric tons of rice in Indonesia, under a purchasing agreement with BULOG (the Indonesian National Logistics Planning Agency).
"The contributions of new donors such as the Czech Republic have made the difference in the tsunami relief operation. The global response to this humanitarian emergency has allowed WFP to meet the food requirements of those in need throughout the affected areas," said Terri Toyota, WFP Deputy Country Director in Indonesia.
Part of this rice consignment was distributed today to beneficiaries in a camp for Internally Displaced People (IDP) in Ingin Jaya, on the outskirts of Banda Aceh, in a ceremony attended by Czech Foreign Minister Cyril Svoboda, who travelled to the region especially for this event.
Svoboda helped distribute bags of rice, marked "Gift from the Czech Republic", to several families in the "Cot Madi" camp, where they have been living after their houses and family members were overwhelmed by the giant waves.
The visit to Aceh by Svoboda, accompanied by Indonesia's Coordinating Minister for Social Welfare, Alwi Shihab, also included different projects supported by the Czech Government and by NGOs in Banda Aceh as well as in Meulaboh, a devastated town on Aceh's West Coast which is only accessible by helicopter.
"We look forward to a continued response from donors, especially now that the plight of the tsunami victims is fading from the international limelight, when in fact the recovery is still far from over," Toyota added.
Immediately following the tsunami disaster, WFP rapidly mobilized a substantial response, launching a US$185 million appeal to provide food assistance for six months to two million people in the affected countries, including Sri Lanka, Indonesia and the Maldives.
Indonesia's portion of the regional emergency operation is valued at US$102 million to feed up to one million people. This emergency operation is supported by three Special Operations (SOs) valued at US$72 million, of which a substantial amount is for covering needs in Indonesia. Through these SOs, WFP provides the transport required to move food to the affected areas.
In addition, the SOs provide inter-agency services, notably, logistical coordination through the United Nations Joint Logistics Centre (UNJLC), regional air support through United Nations Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS) and telecommunications services.
WFP estimates that up to 790,000 people in the affected provinces of Indonesia require emergency food aid. In the first week of March, WFP has already provided over 15,000 tons of food commodities to assist over 510,000 people. Beneficiaries receive a monthly ration of rice, fortified noodles, biscuits, canned fish and vegetable oil. The combined value of WFP's appeal to the tsunami affected region is US$256 million.
WFP is the world's largest humanitarian agency; each year, WFP provides food aid to an average of 90 million people, including 56 million hungry children, in more than 80 countries.
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