New U.S. funding helps WFP scale-up its COVID-19 response in Iraq
BAGHDAD – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) received a special contribution for its COVID-19 humanitarian response in Iraq from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance (BHA). The generous funding of US$6.25 million will help provide food assistance over three months for nearly 80,000 internally displaced Iraqis and 22,000 Syrian refugees, whose needs have grown as a result of the global pandemic.
Many people have lost their jobs during the crisis and no longer have an income. Through monthly cash transfers, mostly via mobile phone, the new U.S. contribution will help WFP support vulnerable internally displaced and refugee families in camps. Markets and camp stores are still open and functioning, so people can redeem their cash entitlements and buy the food they need.
In response to COVID-19, WFP has scaled up its assistance in Iraq, to reach 76,000 refugees and 280,000 displaced people.
“During the crisis, we have stepped up our support for families who are no longer able to put food on the table and are relying more on humanitarian assistance,” said WFP Iraq Representative Abdirahman Meygag. “As our most generous contributor so far in 2020, WFP is grateful to USAID and the American people for enabling WFP to support families through these uncertain times.”
As part of WFP’s approach to cash assistance, new “cashless payments” are being introduced in camps in three governorates so far, in Diyala, Ninewa, and Salah al-Din. This allows people to buy food at camp shops directly through their mobile phones, in a “contactless” manner. Cashless transactions reduce the risk of contracting or spreading the virus as well as avoid people’s unnecessary movement outside the camp.
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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.
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