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Saudi Dates Offer Nutritional Boost To Three West African Nations

DAKAR – The United Nations World Food Programme welcomes the contribution, from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, of 250 metric tonnes of dates, worth US$ 650,000, which will give a nutritional boost to more than 130,000 hungry and vulnerable people in Chad, Mauritania and Burkina Faso this Ramadan season.

Donated by the King Salman Humanitarian aid and Relief Center (KSrelief), the dates are being delivered to young students and malnourished children, refugees, people living with HIV and households facing extremely precarious conditions in the Sahel regions of the three West African nations. 
In Chad, 72 tons of dates will benefit 20,000 primary school children in more than 150 schools in two western regions.

“This donation is used in schools in the Kanem and Bahr el Gazal regions, where food insecurity and malnutrition rates are high,” said WFP Chad Country Director Mary-Ellen McGroarty. “Dates are known to be a food with high nutritional value and this caloric intake is therefore particularly important.” 

In Mauritania, 130 tons of Saudi dates will help nearly 82,000 people, including vulnerable households whose children are receiving WFP’s specialized nutritional foods to fight malnutrition. 

“Dates are a much appreciated snack in Mauritania especially during the holy month of Ramadan,” said WFP Mauritania Country Director and Representative Jean-Noël Gentile. “WFP welcomes this contribution, which targets some of the most vulnerable households living in Assaba, Gorgol, Tagant and Hodh ech-Chargi regions during this year’s lean season who are not receiving general food distributions.”

In Burkina Faso, a further 48 tons of dates will benefit more than 25,000 Malian refugees, along with nearly 4,000 malnourished, HIV-positive people undergoing anti-retroviral treatment. 

“The donation, with important nutritional benefits, will be distributed to two groups of people who are particularly vulnerable to food insecurity and malnutrition,” said Jean-Charles Dei, WFP Burkina Faso Country Director. “Dates will provide these beneficiaries with essential micronutrients.” 

The latest KSrelief contribution is one example of the steady support offered by Saudi Arabia to WFP’s mission to end hunger.

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WFP is the world's largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide, delivering food assistance in emergencies and working with communities to improve nutrition and build resilience. Each year, WFP assists some 80 million people in around 80 countries.

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For more information please contact (email address:
Nathalie Magnien, WFP/Chad, Mob. +235 66 99 30 40
Vanessa Rizzi, WFP/Mauritania, +222 44 40 00 05
Esther Ouoba, WFP/Burkina Faso, +226 75 12 86 56
Elizabeth Bryant, WFP/Dakar Region