BEIRUT – An American ship carrying enough wheat to feed more than one million people for four months has delivered its cargo for distribution in Syria as part of the emergency food assistance provided by the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP).
Carrying 25,000 metric tons of wheat donated by the government of the United States, the MV Advantage arrived at the port of Beirut, Lebanon, on 15 April, where it offloaded part of the wheat, to be milled into flour and then transported to Syria. The ship then proceeded to Mersin Port in Turkey on 19 April, where the rest of the wheat will be milled and transported by sea to Syria for onward distribution by WFP to vulnerable families in Syria’s 14 Governorates.
“We are very grateful for this timely contribution from the United States which will allow us to supplement our food rations with wheat flour especially in the areas where families are struggling to get their hands on bread, a staple part of their diet,” said Muhannad Hadi, WFP’s Emergency Coordinator for the Syria crisis.
The contribution, worth more than US$19 million, will allow WFP to add wheat flour to the monthly food basket of over one million people. Families will receive a 25 kilogram bag of flour in addition to their monthly food ration, which includes vegetable oil, pasta, burglar, canned pulses and sugar. WFP is prioritizing areas where there are severe shortages of bread, especially in the rural parts of the country.
The United States is WFP’s largest donor in fighting hunger worldwide and has contributed the most so far to the UN food agency’s relief efforts for vulnerable Syrians inside their country and those who fled to neighbouring countries. Since the beginning of the crisis, the US has contributed nearly US$125.5 million to WFP’s Syria emergency operation.
WFP must raise US$19 million each week in order to provide food assistance to 2.5 million hungry people inside Syria and more than one million refugees in neighbouring countries.