STORY: Venezuela School Meals - WFP
TRT: 02 min 18s
SOURCE: UNTV CH
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / NATS
ASPECT RATIO: 16:9
DATELINE: 20 APRIL 2021 GENEVA, SWITZERLAND
World Food Programme reaches deal to supply food to 185,000 children in Venezuela
The United Nations' World Food Programme (WFP) has signed an agreement with the Government of Venezuela to begin operations to provide the most vulnerable children in the South American country with nutritious school meals, it announced on Tuesday.
The agency’s goal is to reach 185,000 students by year’s end and 1.5 million by the end of the 2022-2023 school year. It estimated the food assistance programme’s annual budget at $190 million.
Humanitarian aid groups have long pushed for the Government of Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro to allow WFP to distribute food aid in Venezuela.
The agency has previously worked in the country on a development project in the early 70s and has responded to flooding emergencies in later years.
The development follows Monday’s meeting between WFP Executive Director David Beasley and President Maduro and Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido.
“Our school meals programmes are independent, they’ve always been and separate from any other interference. Not only in Venezuela, but elsewhere that we have worked,” WFP spokesperson Tomson Phiri told journalists in Geneva.
Mr Phiri explained that the operation will focus on pre-primary and special education schools, as well as “investing in the rehabilitation of school canteens and training school staff on food safety practices as a means of reaching the wider community”.
In total, there are around eight million children under 14 in Venezuela,” according to WFP, its project coming amid a rise in child malnutrition linked to the spiralling economic crisis in the oil-rich country, soaring food prices and hyperinflation.
“One out of three Venezuelans - which is about 32.3 per cent is food insecure today - and they are in need of assistance” said Mr. Phiri. This includes 2.3 million people who are severely food insecure.
A joint analysis by WFP and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in October included Venezuela among 20 countries that were “likely to face potential spikes in high acute food insecurity” over the following three to six months requiring “urgent attention.”