WFP distributes food to Iraqi town following two-year siege

By RJ Whitehead

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: United nations, Wheat

© iStock
© iStock
World Food Programme of the United Nations has distributed food in and around Qayyarah after a siege had made the northern Iraqi town inaccessible for over two years.

Through local partners Muslim Aid and Women Empowerment Organization, the WFP distributed emergency food rations for more than 30,000 people.

These contained ready-to-eat foods including dates, beans and canned foods as well as monthly food rations containing rice, lentils, wheat flour, bulgur wheat, beans and vegetable oil. 

WFP also distributed food to almost 2,000 displaced people living in camps and with host families in areas surrounding Qayyarah, which is 60km south of Mosul.

"The people of Qayyarah had been living under siege for two years and are suffering extreme hunger with scarce access food supplies. Reaching them with life-saving food assistance is a very positive step forward​," said Sally Haydock, the WFP’s country director. 

The move follows an assessment of the area by the WFP that found that all who remained in the town were in urgent need of food and humanitarian assistance. All its shops had either been destroyed or closed. Food stocks were running dangerously low, and residents were surviving only on wheat from the recent harvest.

Over the last two years people from the Qayyarah area fled to camps in Erbil, Kirkuk and Salah al-Din, where they have received regular food assistance through the WFP's partners. 

More than 3 million Iraqis have been displaced by conflict in Iraq since mid-June 2014. In response, the WFP has provided food assistance to more than 1m vulnerable displaced Iraqis across all 18 governorates.

The WFP, which relies on support from governments, companies and individuals to provide food assistance, is scaling up its food assistance in Iraq to support newly displaced families from the Mosul area. 

It has received a contribution from Germany of US$27.9 million, though it still requires a further US$106m to continue assisting displaced families in Iraq until the end of the year.

Related topics: Policy, Middle East, Supply chain

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