Palestine, August 2014

GAZA – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and its partners launched a special food distribution in Gaza for 730,000 people who are not receiving food under other programmes – in an effort to reach all conflict-affect people in Gaza with some form of food assistance.  


Following the announcement of a 72-hour ceasefire, which started Sunday 9th of August, WFP and the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) were able to distribute one-time food parcels of 10 kg rice and 30 kg of wheat flour to 143,000 families, amounting to the 730,000 people. Security situation permitting, the distribution should be completed within two weeks. Prior to this distribution, the combined food assistance programmes of the two agencies in Gaza was already reaching 1.1 million people.


“We want to provide relief for all families affected by the conflict in Gaza, including those host families who have opened their homes in solidarity with friends and relatives; sharing their food and resources during these very difficult times,” said Pablo Recalde, WFP Country Director in Palestine.


To date, the WFP emergency response has included:


·         Emergency ready-to-eat food for almost 263,000 displaced people taking refuge in UNRWA schools and nearly 13,000 people in public shelters.


·         Electronic food vouchers to 8,000 displaced families – approximately 48,000 people – who are living with host families. With the vouchers, families can buy nutritious food in nearby shops and with the launch of a joint emergency programme by WFP and UNICEF, voucher recipients can also purchase water and sanitary items.

·         A total of 2,039 patients and staff in hospitals are receiving emergency food rations. 

·         WFP, working with the UN Humanitarian Coordinator and partners, has led the activation of the Logistics Cluster, a system by which the humanitarian community coordinates logistical support and humanitarian assistance. Since its activation, 360 pallets of relief items have been coordinated and delivered to Gaza, including bread, rice, water and hygiene kits.


·         WFP and UNRWA launched large-scale bread distribution, buying bread in Gaza as well as in Jerusalem and the West Bank and transporting it to Gaza. This has relieved the pressure on Gaza bakeries, which last week saw a three-fold increase in customers – and four-hour waiting times — following electricity cuts that left people unable to bake bread at home. 


·         In addition to providing emergency food assistance during the 72-hour ceasefire, WFP has re-started regular food distributions in Gaza, planning to reach the 285,000 people registered with WFP’s original assistance programme prior to the conflict.


·         WFP’s regular voucher programme, targeting 60,000 people, remained operational throughout the crisis. The voucher redemption rate in the second week of August stood at 75 percent.


·         WFP needs an immediate US$48 million to provide urgent humanitarian assistance to people affected by the conflict in Gaza. In addition, WFP needs US$20 million to continue its regular programmes in Gaza and the West Bank until the end of the year.

Photos: WFP/Eyad Al Baba

Iraq, August 2014

In spite of the challenging security situation and the fact that displaced populations are on the move, WFP has successfully distributed food to more than 438,000 people in 10 governorates across Iraq. Hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced by the crisis that first hit Mosul in mid-June and spread to surrounding cities and governorates. In recent days, a rising number of Iraqis have found themselves stranded around Iraq’s Sinjar Mountains, fleeing violence. Since 4 August, WFP has set up four emergency kitchens in Dohuk and Lalish, enabling the food agency to assist more than 100,000 people who have fled the Sinjar area.

In the photo: A29 bars provided by the USA being distributed by WFP under the Iraq Emergency Operation to people who have recently been displaced from and within Ninewa Governorate, WFP is specifically targeting children between 6 and 36 months of age, supplementing cooked meals and food assistance.

Photos: Mohammed Al Bahbahani

 Learn more on WFP’s operations in Iraq:



Sahrawi Refugee Camp, Algeria

Hand in hand with school children at Algeria’s Sahrawi refugee camps - Healthy minds and bodies

There is no gender gap in either enrolment or attendance in primary schools at Algeria’s Sahrawi refugee camps, where WFP is providing mid-morning snacks to more than 32,000 children. This is largely because Western Sahara societies place a high value on education and women play a strong role in their community.
WFP provides mid-morning snacks to 32,060 students to increase their attendance and retention, and aims to boost this figure to 32,500 students by the end of the 2014/2015 school year.
WFP supports the improvement of infrastructure in schools and provides on-the-job training to Sahrawi staff in areas such as sampling reconstituted milk for laboratory analysis.

Amid the soaring temperatures of the desert, a good diet is crucial not only to boost the mental concentration and enthusiasm of students, but also to provide them with energy needed to enjoy their fun playtime.
Good health and nutrition among schoolchildren boosts their cognitive development and ability to participate in learning experiences. It also keeps them in good spirits, able to participate in sports and enjoy their playtime. 
The daily snacks they receive from WFP improve their nutrition and health, leading to better performance in classes, fewer repeated grades and reduced dropout. 

Photos: WFP/Francesca Caponera

Lebanon, Zahle town (Bekaa), 30 July 2014 

Syrian refugee families in Bekaa area (eastern Lebanon) received dates donated by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and distributed by the World Food Programme (WFP) and its partner Caritas, on the occasion of Eid-el-Fitr.

The distribution took place in an Informal Tented Settlement (ITS) in Zahle town where refugees live in tents. Refugees arriving to the site showed their identification cards, put their fingerprints signatures then were handled the dates packages.

The World Food Programme (WFP) has been distributing food for Syrian refugees all over Lebanon since July 2012. Nearly 800,000 receive food assistance each month through WFP. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is one of WFPís donors for the Syrian refugee crisis.

Photos: WFP/Sandy Maroun

GAZA, July 2014


Two weeks of escalated violence have left more than 115,000 people in the Gaza Strip in urgent need of food assistance. The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has already reached over 100,000 with emergency food rations since the crisis started but is running low on ready-to-eat food stocks as needs continue to increase.

WFP is mobilizing more food to the Gaza strip through local procurement and by airlifting food from the UN Humanitarian Response Depot (UNHRD) in Dubai  (1st and 2ndPhotos: WFP/Leslie Delos Santos).

This food, packaged in Dubai, finally has reached people in the Gaza strip (3rd and 4th Photos: WFP/Ayman Shublaq).


To continue its food assistance programmes in Palestine, WFP, which is funded by voluntary contributions, needs an immediate US$20 million until the end of the year. Meeting the needs as a result of the emergency in Gaza will require additional resources.


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Koch, South Sudan, July 2014

A total of 21,000 people in Koch have registered to receive rations.  Even before the conflict, Koch was considered one of the most food insecure areas of the country and is now currently at emergency levels under the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) system.  The situation has been exacerbated by disrupted markets, fighting and roads closed due to seasonal rains.

WFP and partners in South Sudan have so far managed to reach more than 1.1 million people affected by the conflict, overcoming enormous challenges to reach people in very difficult circumstances. The agency currently has a funding shortfall of $475 million. 

Photos: WFP/Jaqueline Dent


South Sudanese Refugees Worry About Future 

The humanitarian crisis in South Sudan is becoming a regional tragedy. Tens of thousands have fled South Sudan, many to Ethiopia. Many say they had to flee mainly because of the conflict but also because there was no food or water back home. WFP is providing food assistance, including High Energy Biscuits, and nutritious food supplements for those who are malnourished or at risk of malnutrition.

 In the photos: WFP implementing partner Concern measures the arm circumference of children to assess their nutritional state and to provide fortified supplementary food to the mothers and children in need.

All photos: UNMISS/JC McIlwaine


South Sudanese Refugees Worry About Future 

The humanitarian crisis in South Sudan is becoming a regional tragedy. Tens of thousands have fled South Sudan, many to Ethiopia. Many say they had to flee mainly because of the conflict but also because there was no food or water back home. WFP is providing food assistance, including High Energy Biscuits, and nutritious food supplements for those who are malnourished or at risk of malnutrition.

 In the photos: WFP implementing partner Concern measures the arm circumference of children to assess their nutritional state and to provide fortified supplementary food to the mothers and children in need.

All photos: UNMISS/JC McIlwaine

Lebanon, 8 May 2014


The conflict in Syria continues to impact the humanitarian situation resulting in significant humanitarian needs.  

Access to basic needs including food, water, electricity and medical supplies has been interrupted in areas witnessing armed activities. A growing number of main breadwinners have become unemployed and soaring food and fuel prices across the country have also exacerbated the situation. In response, WFP – in partnership with the Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC) and 23 other local organizations– is providing monthly food assistance to close to 3 million Syrians and will scale up to feed 4 million people by October. Food rations contain rice, bulgur, pasta, dried and canned pulses, oil, tomato paste, salt and sugar and are enough for one month. With serious bread shortages across the country, in April WFP also started the distribution of wheat flour providing 5 kilograms of flour per person per month. WFP uses over 700 trucks a month to dispatch food to hundreds of distribution points across the country, as well as delivering other goods for the humanitarian community.  

Hundreds of thousands of families have fled the violence in their country and have taken refuge in Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and Egypt. Humanitarian needs assessments in these countries showed that food is a top priority and WFP is responding to refugees’ needs with food distributions and innovative food vouchers.


Photo 1

A Syrian refugee at a counter in a local shop in Zahle in the Bekaa. He bought raw chicken and meat using WFP’s electronic card. With this system, refugees can buy fresh produce not normally included in food parcels.

Photo 2


Syrian refugee mother in her thirties, feeding bread to her baby daughter in the Bekaa where WFP helps Syrian refugees meet their food needs through the innovative E-card system. . “We wait for the electronic cards impatiently every month” says Zeinab.


Photo 3

Fatima, a Syrian refugee mother, in her twenties with her daughter and her niece at the door of their tent in an informal tented settlement in Saadnayel town in the Bekaa. Fatima receives WFP E-cards that are automatically loaded unto the card on a monthly basis, allowing Her to take care of her family.


 Photo 4

A 60 year old Syrian refugee woman with her grandson in front of their tent in a tented settlement in Saadnayel town in the Bekaa.


 Photo 5

“Securing food and paying the rental cost of the land for our tents are our priority needs,” Mohamad, a Syrian refugee told WFP officials during a meeting aimed at soliciting their feedback about WFP’s assistance programme and the impact of the electronic cards on refugees’ lives.


All photos: WFP/Laure Chadraoui

WFP Assistance to the conflict affected people in Iraq

ERBIL, Iraq – United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) Executive Director Ertharin Cousin on Wednesday ended a two-day visit to Iraq, after meeting families who have fled from the violence in Mosul and holding high-level talks with the Kurdistan Regional Government and other officials.

“Yet again, another humanitarian crisis hits war-torn Iraq, disproportionately and negatively impacting the hungry poor. The most vulnerable and poorest families have already experienced their share of tragedy over the last few years,” said Cousin. “Many are displaced in very harsh conditions.  Lack of services, support and insecurity is forcing them to move around – in too many cases making these families difficult to reach.”

Cousin stopped at the Kalak transit camp – between Mosul and Erbil – and met displaced people who fled the recent fighting in Mosul. Families sat in newly erected tents and makeshift shelters in 45 degrees Celsius heat. They told her that they left their homes with only the clothes on their backs.

“Only the strong and lucky, who could walk for hours in this scorching heat or those who have the means to travel by car arrived here at the transit camp,” said Cousin. Among them was a man from Mosul, who told her he was worried he would not be able to fast during the upcoming Holy Month of Ramadan in harsh conditions with little access to water, electricity and other necessities.

“The UN and the entire humanitarian community are surging staff, releasing funds and drawing on all available stocks to assist people affected by the fighting and meet the urgent growing needs,” Cousin added.

WFP has launched an emergency operation to feed more than half a million people hit by the latest conflict in Iraq, amid security and funding challenges. Before the new wave of displacements, starting with the violence in Mosul, WFP had already been assisting 240,000 people displaced by conflict in Iraq’s al-Anbar Governorate, as well as more than 180,000 refugees from the conflict in Syria who sought refuge in Iraq.

WFP, which is funded entirely by voluntary donations, needs $US88 million for its operations in Iraq from July to December 2014.

Photo credits:

Photos 1 and 2: WFP/Abeer Etefa

Photos 3,4 5 and 6: WFP/Alessandro Pavone

Photo 7: WFP/Abeer Etefa