World Food Programme continues oil-for-food work

18 March 2003
The UN World Food Programme (WFP) is continuing to distribute food and other humanitarian goods in the north of Iraq despite the decision, announced by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan in New York on 17 March, to withdraw all UN officials from the country, says Iraq programmes co-ordinator Khalid Mansour.

'We hope that our national staff will continue to work on our programmes in Iraq,' Mansour said on 18 March in a telephone interview from Amman. 'But if there is disruption, we have various plans to maintain our activities for the duration of the war.' The WFP is responsible for distributing rations under the UN oil-for-food programme in areas controlled by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG). In the south and central parts of Iraq, distribution is controlled by the government of Iraq. The WFP is running other programmes in Iraq and had seven international staff based in the country. Most of the work on WFP programmes is done by about 700 national staff.

Mansour said that distribution of the August ration was started on 17 March in south and central Iraq. 'People now have anything up to four-six weeks of rations,' he said.

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