30 September 2007 The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) today announced that it has been assured by Myanmar that authorities will lift restrictions on the movement of the agency's food aid.
WFP Country Director and Representative Chris Kaye confirmed that the Mandalay Area Military Commander on Saturday issued the transport permit to allow for the delivery of nearly 200 metric tons of food to Lashio in northern Myanmar. WFP has therefore scheduled food deliveries to WFP operational areas to resume next week.
Mandalay's local authorities halted all movements of food supplies out of the Division earlier this week, obstructing WFP's operations in northern Shan and the Central Dry Zone, both of which depend on food deliveries from Mandalay.
Disturbances in the port town of Sittwe have also thwarted food movement to the agency's operational areas in north Rakhine State.
Civil protests led by Buddhist monks in the South-East Asian nation for 11 consecutive days were concentrated mostly in the main cities of Yangon and Mandalay, but the demonstrators' stand-off with the Government and its response had consequences in other areas where WFP distributes food assistance.
Operating in Myanmar in collaboration with 22 UN agencies and non-governmental organizations, WFP provides much-needed food for vulnerable persons in the country, including HIV/AIDS and TB patients under treatment, primary school children in marginalized areas of the country and communities in former poppy-farming areas. A programme supporting the nutrition status of mothers and children addresses acute malnutrition rates that prevail in several operational areas.