- The Algerian government has donated 12,000 tons of rice to drought-stricken Mozambique, which today arrived the coastal town of Beira. This represents first time the troubles North African nation has donated food through WFP for southern Africa.
The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) today welcomed the arrival in Mozambique of rice donated by Algeria, "boosting the agency's ability to scale up food aid for hundreds of thousands of drought-hit Mozambicans."
The gift of 12,000 tons of rice was received in Beira during a ceremony attended by Algerian Ambassador Fouad Bouttoura, officials from the Mozambique's National Institute of Disaster Management (INGC) and WFP staff.
The donation is part of a larger Algerian contribution of 33,000 tons of rice for WFP emergency operations in southern Africa. The overall donation is the biggest contribution ever given by Algeria to WFP, and it further marks the first time this North African country has donated food through WFP for southern Africa.
- We are extremely grateful to the Algerian government for this much-needed donation, said Angela Van Rynbach, WFP Representative in Mozambique. "The food crisis in Mozambique continues to threaten hundreds of thousands of people, especially now that the maize crop has largely failed for a second year in southern parts of the country. The rice strengthens our steps to scale up food distributions to drought-hit families in the months to come."
WFP has been providing emergency food assistance to drought-affected people in Mozambique since July 2002. The agency has just extended its operation through June and is aiming to provide food for as many as 650,000 people who have been hardest hit by the natural disaster.
Algeria itself still struggles with the humanitarian consequences of an earthquake measuring 6.7 on the Richter scale that struck the northern part of the country on 21 May. This is the biggest earthquake to hit North African countries since 1980, killing more than 2,000 people and injuring 9,000 others. Over 40,000 Algerians were in need for humanitarian aid.
In Mozambique, meanwhile, the first estimates of this season's harvests have indicated a national production increase. However, outputs are uneven. Mozambique's government reports of expected surpluses in the north and "serious deficits" in the more densely populated south.
In the southern parts of the country, the long-lasting drought and food deficit is therefore expected to last yet another year as infrastructure constraints hinder the smooth transport of surpluses from northern Mozambique.
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