ROME – The United Nations World Food Programme has airlifted emergency food assistance into Liberia to feed refugees fleeing the political crisis in neighbouring Cote d’Ivoire as part of a rapid scale up of humanitarian operations in response to the evolving humanitarian crisis.
“We are mobilising food stocks at a regional and local level to help these people, who are facing a grim start to the New Year,” said WFP’s Deputy Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer, Amir Abdulla. “These biscuits will provide a welcome nutritional boost to refugees – many of whom have crossed the border with little in the way of food for their families.”
WFP has flown in five metric tons of High Energy Biscuits – fortified rations especially suited to use in emergencies – to assist the growing number of people crossing the border into Nimba County, Liberia. UN reports say around 20,000 refugees have arrived — most of them are being sheltered by the local community on the Liberian side of the border.
The first emergency consignment will be sent to the north-eastern town of Saclepea for distribution in coordination with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). The five metric tons – enough to provide a day’s food ration for around 15,000 people – is the first consignment in a wave of food assistance that WFP is mobilising to meet the immediate nutritional needs of the refugees.
WFP has launched emergency operations on both sides of the border, for refugees and internally displaced people, drawing up contingency plans to help tens of thousands of people over the coming weeks.