BISHKEK – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) said Monday that 350,000 people across the country, many of them hit indirectly by this year’s civil strife, are receiving food rations to help them through the long cold winter months.
Vulnerable households in six out of seven provinces – Batken, Issyk-Kul, Jalalabad, Naryn, Osh and Talas – will receive two months rations including fortified wheat flour and vegetable oil until the end of the year.
“The problems that occurred in the south reverberated through communities across the country,” said Rasmus Egendal, WFP Representative and Country Director. “The disruption of the agricultural cycle in April combined with border closures only exacerbated underlying food insecurity.”
In addition to the 350,000 people WFP will support with winter rations, the agency continues to provide assistance to 240,000 other people directly affected by the June violence in Osh and Jalalabad who are still struggling to get back on their feet after losing their homes and livelihoods in the conflict.
WFP has been supporting vulnerable groups in Kyrgyzstan since 2009. The country has been hit by a spate of natural disasters, high food prices, and a drastic reduction in remittances from Kyrgyz working abroad because of the global recession. These events, together with the repercussions from the civil unrest earlier this year, resulted in reducing the purchasing power of poor households and effectively dragged down previously self- sufficient households to a level where they too require assistance to get through the winter.
“Prices for food are shooting up and it is clear from our assessments that without assistance during the toughest months of the year many people across the country would find it extremely difficult to adequately feed their families without getting indebted or engaging in potentially harmful coping strategies,” Egendal said.
For Further Information:
Birgit Hussfeld, WFP/Bishkek, firstname.lastname@example.org, Tel: 0312 963 2420, Mobile: 0558 780 827