Noting the vital importance of food assistance for the persons displaced by the recent political crisis in Timor-Leste, a senior WFP official has met with Prime Minister Jose Ramos Horta to reaffirm the international body's commitment to the food security of people in Timor-Leste.
This meeting followed the recent signing of the Government/UNWFP “Basic Agreement” recognizing the official relationship between the Government and WFP based on the UN Convention.
Assessing impact of crisis
Arriving yesterday in Dili, Mr Anthony Banbury’s primary objective was to see first hand the impact of the humanitarian crisis on the people of Timor-Leste and his two-day visit will include meetings with Government Ministers, donors, UN agencies and church representatives.
“I am encouraged by the leadership and commitment shown by the government in responding to the humanitarian needs wrought by recent violence,” said Mr Banbury.
“The Government and WFP have coordinated efforts to ensure that vital food assistance has reached people affected by displacement.”
To further support the Government efforts in meeting food needs of internally displaced persons (IDPs) and vulnerable groups, WFP has to date provided 1,155 tonnes of assorted food commodities for over 152,000 IDPs and vulnerable groups in Dili and in districts outside of Dili.
WFP was one of the first agencies to respond to the humanitarian crisis by immediately advancing stock from in-country strategic reserves on April 29 - a day after the crisis first began - to provide food assistance to IDPs in Dili and by generating donor support for extra food supplies.
“Donor response has been invaluable,” said Mr Tarek Elguindi, WFP Representative in Timor-Leste.
“Contributions by the Governments of Australia, Japan, the United States, and the European Commission, amongst others, have guaranteed that WFP can continue to provide food for the emergency distributions as well as continuing its regular activities.”
Australia was the first country to offer assistance to WFP and most recently provided over 196 tonnes of mung beans to boost the emergency food assistance.
WFP is also committed to the reconciliation process.
“Beyond providing the emergency food assistance, WFP is committed to assisting the Government in whatever way possible and appropriate with their efforts to reintegrate the displaced persons back into their communities,” said Mr Banbury.
WFP’s emergency food distributions are part of its overall program in Timor-Leste to target the nation’s most vulnerable people through School Feeding, supplementary feeding for Maternal and Child Health and establishing in-country strategic reserves to respond to emergencies (natural and manmade).
The Government has been the primary WFP counterpart.
So far WFP's operation in Timor Leste has received contributions from: Australia, Canada, European Commission, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Singapore, UN Central Emergency Response Fund, and the United States.