The Howard G. Buffett Foundation today announced a US $1 million grant to the World Food Programme (WFP) to provide emergency logistics support and food assistance to displaced families returning to their homes following the most recent outbreak of conflict in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Before the latest violence in November, around 440,000 people had already been displaced by fighting in North Kivu province since April 2012.
The contribution was announced by Howard G. Buffett, President of the Foundation and a WFP Ambassador Against Hunger, who visited Goma on Thursday and Friday to see the situation first-hand.
"We have been investing in DRC and the Great Lakes region since 1998," said Buffett. "Our goal is to provide whatever support we can to mitigate the effects of this recent crisis without creating more permanent encampments. The sooner people can go home, the sooner we can all get back to longer-term, more strategic investments that support human and economic development as well as peace and stability."
The Foundation's contribution will support up to 41,000 people with food assistance for three months, so they can return to their homes in Rutshuru territory and begin to rebuild their lives. The assistance will include specialized nutritional support for 8,500 moderately malnourished children.
"The people of eastern DRC have suffered immensely," said Martin Ohlsen, WFP Country Director for DRC. "It is heartening to have this kind of support from an individual like Howard Buffett, who has been working in the country for so many years and believes in the long-term potential of this country and region."
The Howard G Buffett Foundation contribution will support WFP's US$317 million relief and recovery operation to assist victims of armed conflict and other vulnerable groups in DRC.
WFP has assisted nearly one million displaced people in eastern DRC since the beginning of 2012. The agency is currently distributing food rations to some 160,000 newly displaced people around the Goma area and in Rutshuru, to the north.
WFP plans to offer food assistance to nearly 4.5 million Congolese this year, including 1.4 million children through its school meals programme.
The Howard G Buffett Foundation is a committed supporter of WFP's work. This latest grant brings the Foundation donations to WFP since 2006 to $50 million. Separately, the Foundation has invested more than $50 million in DRC and the Great Lakes region since 1998, including $200,000 to restore access to clean water and power in Goma since the start of the latest conflict. To learn more about Buffett's other efforts in Goma since the most recent escalation of conflict, visit: http://bit.ly/UvcL3z. To learn more about WFP's work in DRC, visit http://www.wfp.org/countries/congo-democratic-republic.
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