On 30 May, the World Food Programme in Tanzania received a donation of dates valued at USD 700,000 from the Royal Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to support refugee operations in the north-west of the country.
In a short ceremony in the Tanzania Country Office, Country Director Richard Ragan accepted the donation from Mr Mansour Al Yusuf of the Saudi Ministry of Finance and Mr Atif Mobarak of the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia.
Mr Ragan thanked Saudia Arabia for the donation saying that the country has been a strong supporter of WFP, with nearly USD 3 million in food and non-food commodites provided since 2006. Mr Mobarak remarked that the donation was given within the framework of friendly relations between the two countries.
"I believe this cooperation will continue for the benefit of our governments, and those in need," he stated.
The 200 metric tons of dates – approximately seven truckloads – will supplement the food rations provided to refugees living in the Nyarugusu and Mtabila camps. The camps are currently populated by Burundian and Congolese (DRC) refugees who fled their countries as a result of civil unrest and ethnic conflict. Tanzania has been hosting refugees since the early 1990s.
The dates arrived in the Dar es Salaam port on 25 May and were dispatched to the camps on the same day. Distribution will commence on 11 June.