Canada supports WFP in helping vulnerable Palestinian families cope with increased hardship
JERUSALEM – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) welcomed a contribution of CAD$6 million (approximately US$4.3 million) from the Government of Canada to provide much-needed food assistance to Palestinians facing hardship in Gaza and the West Bank.
The generous multi-year contribution from Canada (2020-2021) will help WFP to provide Cash-Based Transfers (CBTs) to more than 100,000 of the poorest non-refugees in the Gaza Strip for two months. The majority of those receiving support are women and children who struggle to make ends meet in the wake of an acute humanitarian crisis in Gaza. Families will receive an electronic food voucher credited with US$10.30 per person per month to purchase diverse food of their choice from 200 designated retail shops.
In the West Bank, WFP will use the funds to provide in-kind food rations to 37,000 people living in the Bedouin and herding communities. The food rations consist of fortified wheat flour, pulses, vegetable oil and salt that cover their needs for six months.
“In today’s challenging global crisis environment, we are grateful for Canada’s reaffirmation of support to vulnerable Palestinians,” said WFP Representative and Country Director Stephen Kearney. “While COVID-19 has exacerbated longstanding vulnerabilities, food insecurity is still a key challenge to the poorest and needs our reliable and consistent support to mitigate their additional pressures”.
Food-insecurity in the time of COVID-19 is more pressing requiring collective efforts to meet the essential needs of people who are furthest behind. More than a third of the population in Gaza and the West Bank have been already suffering from food insecurity prior to COVID-19 crisis. The increase in unemployment and poverty as a result of the crisis has taken toll on most vulnerable groups whose access to essential needs including food, health and shelter is already impeded.
WFP food assistance is all the more critical for protecting the food security and nutrition status of poor women-headed households, persons with disabilities, elderly people, chronically ill people and children.
” We know that women and girls are disproportionately affected by crisis,” said Representative of Canada to the Palestinian Authority Robin Wettlaufer. ”Reaching the most vulnerable with life-saving assistance is the cornerstone of Canada’s humanitarian efforts.”
WFP and partners are regularly providing food assistance to 345,000 of the poorest and most food-insecure non-refugees in Gaza and the West Bank. The food assistance has been a lifeline for those people who live on less than US$1 and now are coping with additional strain on their fragile livelihoods and nutrition and health due to the unfolding impact of COVID-19.
WFP is also coordinating with the Ministry of Social Development, UN agencies and other stakeholders to respond to the immediate food needs of additional affected people. Most of the assistance is provided by WFP through CBTs which have proven to be rapid, effective and efficient, meeting immediate food needs and supporting the resilience of small-medium business owners.
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The United Nations World Food Programme is the world’s largest humanitarian organization, saving lives in emergencies, building prosperity and supporting a sustainable future for people recovering from conflict, disasters and the impact of climate change.