UN World Food Programme

Catalan cooperation agency supports WFP operation in DR Congo

WFP has welcomed a donation of more than US$300,000 from the Catalan Cooperation Agency for Development, an organisation of the Generalitat of Catalonia which governs this Spanish autonomous community.

WFP has welcomed a donation of more than US$300,000 from the Catalan Cooperation Agency for Development, an organisation of the Generalitat of Catalonia which governs this Spanish autonomous community.

The Democratic Republic of Congo is a huge country and in many cases we have to travel 1,500 km to reach distribution sites

Charles Vincent, WFP Country Director in DRC

The donation will be used to support WFP operations in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), where it is assisting more than three million people.

Six years of war and unrest in DRC have taken their toll on the nutritional status of displaced families whose children have been forced to grow up in harsh conditions – many of them have perished due to their parents’ inability to provide for them.

Violence and danger

Sporadic violence in eastern DRC remains a constant danger for the civilian population, limiting their ability to plant and grow crops.

A further threat comes from HIV/AIDS, especially for displaced people who lack the means to protect themselves against the pandemic.

According to the Catalan Cooperation Agency of the Autonomous Community of Catalonia, the 2003-2006 Management Cooperation Plan states the need to respond to complex humanitarian crises; the provision of assistance in general, as well as during emergencies, is among the Plan’s strategic objectives.

Food aid priority

Food aid is internationally recognised as a priority in humanitarian assistance – being a basic need during a forgotten crisis – as is the case in DRC, the Catalan Cooperation Agency stated.

“We want to thank the Catalan Cooperation Agency of the Autonomous Community of Catalonia for this significant donation that will help the most vulnerable Congolese population to rebuild their lives,” said Charles Vincent, WFP Country Director in DRC.

As part of its operation, WFP has focused on the one million displaced people living in the east of country. To help them recover, WFP is developing various nutritional programmes whose main beneficiaries are women and children.

Child soldiers

WFP also provides food rations to those Congolese affected by the violence: among them are demobilised child soldiers, communities undergoing reconstruction and people affected by HIV/AIDS.

This assistance is being provided against a backdrop of urgent need for the international community to help with rebuilding infrastructure, communications and restarting agricultural production.

“The Democratic Republic of Congo is a huge country and in many cases we have to travel 1,500 km to reach distribution sites. In order to reduce air transport costs it is vital to rebuild the communications network,” said Vincent.

Thanks to a partnership with the Congolese National Railroad Company, WFP recently transported more than 3,000 metric tons of food to an area where, in the past, only 300 tons could be delivered, due to logistical problems.

WFP plans to distribute an average of 7,000 tons per month to 875,000 people across the country, from January to June 2007.