Belgium supports WFP assistance in five countries where needs are exceptionally high
CAIRO – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) welcomes a donation package totalling €7.5 million (approximately US$8.1 million) from the Government of Belgium to support the food agency’s response to rising food needs in Ethiopia, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, and Syria.
Belgium’s support comes at a time when WFP is strapped for funds in the five countries. This timely donation is allowing WFP to continue to provide critical assistance to millions of people in Africa and the Middle East who have been affected by conflicts, displacement, and economic downturn.
Belgium is supporting WFP operations in Palestine with €2 million to provide assistance for 157,600 of the poorest and most food insecure people in the Gaza Strip, more than 70 percent of them are women and children. While already living on the edge unable to put food on their table, tens of thousands of families in the Gaza Strip rely on WFP food assistance as their only safety net to cope with hardships and eroding access to national social allowances. WFP is providing assistance via cash-based transfer in the form of electronic food vouchers to the majority of families and a small percentage receive monthly food rations.
In Syria, another €2 million will allow WFP to meet the food needs of 270,000 people across the country through direct food distributions. This comes at a time of record-high levels of food insecurity since the start of the Syrian crisis; 12.4 million people food insecure country wide – more than 60 percent of the population – and an additional 1.8 million at risk of sliding into hunger if urgent assistance is not scaled-up. Each month WFP provides lifesaving food to more than 5 million vulnerable Syrians.
In Ethiopia, €1.5 million of the Belgian funds will go towards providing emergency food assistance and nutrition support for 1.5 million people in the Tigray Region. WFP aims to reach 3 million who have been affected by the ongoing conflict in Tigray and are in urgent need of support. More than 5 million people, that is 91 percent of Tigray’s population, need emergency food assistance. The ongoing conflict has also affected other parts of Northern Ethiopia, threatening to further exacerbate the food insecurity of already vulnerable families in the Amhara and Afar regions where 1.7 million people are facing emergency levels of hunger and over 800,000 people have been displaced.
In Jordan, €1 million from Belgium will help WFP provide food assistance through cash-based transfers for 35,840 refugees out of a total of 465,000 vulnerable refugees in Jordan in camps and host communities – most of them from Syria. The socio-economic impact of COVID-19 has incredibly impacted the refugees households as the food insecurity and poverty among refugee households in camps and communities had dropped as a result of the loss of livelihood.
And Lebanon – that is going through unprecedented economic crisis – is receiving €1 million from Belgium to provide food rations for more than 4,600 vulnerable Lebanese for 12 months. These funds will allow WFP to continue to respond to the growing needs where food access and availability have become major issues, with food prices out of reach for most. The estimated prevalence of poverty among Lebanese has almost doubled this March with 3 million people falling into poverty compared to 1.7 million in 2020. WFP is supporting 1 in 4 people in Lebanon – this includes nearly half a million Lebanese and 1.2 million refugees.
WFP and Belgium have a solid partnership, characterised by a collaborative approach. The provision of core, flexible, predictable and multi-annual funds is an important element of the Belgian humanitarian strategy and of our partnership. In 2020, Belgium contributed over USD 32 million in total, ranking as WFP’s 25th largest donor and as the 2nd largest contributor to the Immediate Response Account – WFP’s life-saving funding facility allowing a rapid response to emergencies. Belgium supports WFP thematic areas that go beyond food assistance, including innovation and the UN Humanitarian Air Service.
# # #
The United Nations World Food Programme is the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate. We are the world’s largest humanitarian organization, saving lives in emergencies and using food assistance to build a pathway to peace, stability and prosperity for people recovering from conflict, disasters and the impact of climate change.
Follow us on Twitter @wfp_media