Dubai donation begins rescue of WFP food aid operation in Cambodia

WFP has welcomed an urgently needed contribution of US$1 million from the Government of Dubai in response to its appeal to end drastic food aid cuts affecting 700,000 poor Cambodians, including HIV/AIDS and TB patients.

WFP has welcomed an urgently needed contribution of US$1 million from the Government of Dubai in response to its appeal to end drastic food aid cuts affecting 700,000 poor Cambodians, including HIV/AIDS and TB patients.

At stake are the lives of thousands of HIV/AIDS patients receiving anti-retroviral drugs whose effectiveness depends upon proper nourishment

WFP Executive Director, James Morris

But at the same time WFP warned that more donations were desperately needed to ensure the full resumption of operations in the country.

In January, key WFP activities in Cambodia were suspended due to lack of funding. Now, thanks to this generous contribution, food aid to 70,000 people affected by HIV/AIDS and 18,000 TB patients, will resume earlier than originally expected.

What's at stake

“At stake are the lives of thousands of HIV/AIDS patients receiving anti-retroviral drugs whose effectiveness depends upon proper nourishment,” said WFP Executive Director, James Morris.

“And then there are the TB patients whose incentive to complete their treatment is often the food aid they receive at treatment centres. All these people are desperately poor – this helping hand from Dubai is truly lifesaving.”

In a poor country like Cambodia where 35 percent of the population lives below the poverty line, hundreds of thousands of children are dependent on WFP meals provided by the agency’s food for education programme.

Negative impact

WFP is already starting to see the negative impacts of the suspension of its activities: declines in school attendance rates; reduced attention spans of children in class and worsening health of HIV/AIDS and TB patients as well as, in some cases, a drop in treatment adherence.

The donation by the Government of Dubai will be used to prioritise HIV/AIDS and TB patients but more donations are needed to resume the food for education programme.

“We are extremely grateful to the Government of Dubai for their valuable and timely support, which is part of a growing commitment to development aid from the governments in the Gulf region.” said Morris. “We appeal to others to follow.”