TBILISI – As the winter weather in the Republic of Georgia begins to bite, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) announced Wednesday that it will distribute vital food supplies to feed 6,700 of the country’s most vulnerable people over the next few months.
The people who will receive WFP assistance have been displaced several times since fleeing their homes in South Ossetia in 2008 when Russia invaded the territory. Since then they have lived a precarious existence trying to eke out a livelihood, either in collective centers or host families.
“Winter is tough for the poorest and hungriest people in Georgia who are often forced to sell their belongings to feed their families and keep warm,” said Maha Ahmed, WFP Representatives and Country Director. “By providing assistance during these hard months, we hope that at least some families will not have to resort to doing this and will still have assets in the Spring.”
“We know there are many more people who need assistance, but we were unable to find the required funding to include them,” Ahmed said.
WFP plans to distribute wheatflour bought in bulk nearly two months ago, before prices escalated to its current level. It will also distribute a cash stipend of 14 Lari per beneficiary per month to enable a diversified diet through the purchase of oil, grains, vegetables and other items deemed necessary.
The winterisation programme will be WFP’s last food assistance programme in the Republic of Georgia after 17 years of support to the country’s most vulnerable. It will run until April or May 2011 when Government will assume responsibility for the caseload.
“Even though the Republic of Georgia has made great strides since gaining independence, much still needs to be done to improve household food security and extend social safety nets to include all of the most vulnerable,” Ahmed said. “For the sake of those who need support, I hope this does not drop off the country’s agenda in the future.”
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