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Source: USAID West Bank & Gaza
28 February 2005

USAID pledges additional $8 million for emergency food

RAMALLAH, West Bank - The American people contributed an additional $8 million to the United Nations World Food Program (WFP) Monday to ensure food security for 480,000 people in the West Bank and Gaza.

The funds are part of an accelerated assistance program designed to underline the United States' commitment to assisting Palestinians following their historic presidential election.

The contribution will be funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). USAID has responded to WFP's Emergency Operations Appeal in the past five months with a total of $11,125,000, representing 27% of the total appeal.

The American funds will be used to provide essential food to approximately 480,000 of the most vulnerable non-refugees in the West Bank and Gaza.

WFP intends to use some of the funds to purchase 6,000 metric tons of locally milled wheat flour for distribution throughout Gaza. This purchase would increase USAID's donation to a total of 14,346 metric tons of locally milled wheat flour for Gaza or 67.7% of the amount WFP requested in its appeal. The locally milled wheat flour is fortified with iron, folic acid and other micronutrients to meet WFP standards.

WFP prefers to procure wheat flour locally because of the Karni crossing, the main gate for transporting commodities from Israel's Ashdod port into Gaza, can be closed during periods of heightened tension or military activity. The UN agency believes it is vital to have adequate stockpiles of wheat flour on the ground in Gaza to continuously meet the needs of the most vulnerable.

The USAID contribution will also be used to purchase 450 metric tons of locally bottled vegetable oil, injecting some $389,250 into the local economy. With USAID funds, WFP has already purchased 195 metric tons of locally produced olive oil, worth approximately $643,500.
Another 8,640 metric tons of wheat flour and 300 metric tons of vegetable oil will be purchased and brought in from outside the region through the U.S. government's Food for Peace program.

The $8 million donation brings USAID's contribution to more than $37.3 million since 2002 to help feed the most vulnerable, non-refugee Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza.

USAID, which administers the U.S. foreign assistance program and provides economic and humanitarian aid in more than 80 countries worldwide, has provided more than $1.5 billion in assistance to Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza during the last decade.

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