Bread Provided To Hungry Displaced In Sri Lanka

Published on 03 July 2009

Service with a Smile: A volunteer delivers bread and rolls to WFP beneficiaries in Sri Lanka's IDP camps.

Copyright: WFP/Paulette Jones

WFP and its humanitarian partners recently provided another lifeline to tens of thousands of people who have fled the recent conflict in Sri Lanka. Thanks to a coordinated initiative between the government, NGOs and the business community, three of Sri Lanka’s largest bakeries baked fresh bread for the hungry displaced using ingredients from WFP’s food basket.

COLOMBO -- More than 205,000 loaves of freshly baked bread and buns were distributed to WFP beneficiaries recently as they made their way towards a government screening centre in Omanthai and temporary camps.

The bread - made especially dense to provide additional carbohydrates - was eaten with traditional dhal curry, made from the pulses provided in WFP’s food basket.

Teaming up

It was a collaboration involving three of Sri Lanka’s largest bakeries, who transformed WFP rations of flour, sugar and oil, into bread. Requiring no preparation or cooking, the bread provided an immediate source of food for internally displaced persons (IDPs) as they travelled to Omanthai.

“We could direct exhausted and hungry IDPs to appropriate sites without worrying about food. Thanks to the production of bread we knew they were assured of finding something to eat,” explained an official involved in registering the incoming IDPs.

The daily grind

Freshly prepared and baked each day in bakeries in the capital city of Colombo, the rolls and bread were transported to the government screening centre in Omanthai, and also to largest IDP camp in Vavuniya, where more than 260,000 IDPs are currently residing.

Before midnight each day from 19 and 24 May, some 40,000 loaves of bread and buns were loaded onto three, twenty-foot containers, and distributed among the displaced population, within 18 hours.

The special bread proved to be a successful and palatable food source for the IDPs, many of whom have little or no means of earning a living and are reliant on humanitarian assistance.