The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has announced a new, three-year programme to provide meals to 1.8 million vulnerable Cambodians, including schoolchildren, tuberculosis patients and people affected by HIV/AIDS.
At a ceremony yesterday in the capital, Phnom Penh, WFP and the Cambodian Government launched the $64 million feeding programme which, starting next year, will target the neediest and least developed regions of the South-East Asian country.
WFP Country Director Thomas Keusters called on international donors to step up their support of its programmes in Cambodia, warning that it was important to avoid a repeat of the funding crisis earlier this year that threatened to interrupt the supply of emergency food relief.
“Food assistance has an immediate impact on beneficiaries and it is often also the catalyst that will allow other programmes to be successful,” Mr. Keusters said.
“What good is it to build more schools and train more teachers if the children cannot take advantage of the improved facilities because they come to school hungry? What is the benefit of HIV/AIDS/TB medical support if the people cannot afford to buy the food that is needed for the medicine to be effective?”
WFP has been operating in Cambodia since 1979, when it started supporting refugees and returnees, mainly along the Cambodian-Thai border.