Cairo — The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has begun providing assistance through food vouchers to more than 7,000 of the most vulnerable Syrian refugees in Egypt.
WFP last week completed a first round of voucher distribution for February to more than 3,000 Syrian refugees registered with the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR). The refugees live in the Cairo satellite cities of Al-Obour and 6th of October City as well as in Damietta in the Delta. WFP is planning to reach an additional 4,000 Syrians in the Mediterranean port city of Alexandria by the end of this month.
The voucher assistance provides each registered Syrian refugee with an electronic or paper-based voucher card on a monthly basis. Refugees exchange their cards in participating supermarkets for basic food items such as cereals, pulses as well as dairy products and fresh vegetables and fruits that are not normally included in traditional food rations.
"WFP plans to provide assistance to as many as 30,000 Syrians in Egypt by June 2013," said WFP's Country Director and Representative in Egypt GianPietro Bordignon. "We work closely with the beneficiaries to implement the programme; they have been helping us by organizing themselves and they have even offered their homes and facilities to be used for voucher distributions. We were very impressed by the level of their voluntary contribution to the programme," he added.
The food assistance is part of WFP's regional emergency operation to support Syrian families who have fled the conflict in Syria to neighbouring Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Turkey and Egypt.
Since the start of the conflict, more than 90,000 Syrians are reported to have fled to Egypt. Only 15,000 of them are currently registered with UNHCR but the numbers are increasing rapidly. WFP launched its assistance to Syrians in Egypt at the request of the government and is targeting the poorest among them who have exhausted all their savings.
WFP has been operating in Egypt since 1963 and has provided over US$681 million worth of assistance to the most vulnerable groups in the population. In 2013, more than 650,000 Egyptians will benefit from WFP projects across the country.
WFP's work in Egypt targets the poorest communities especially in Upper Egypt and the Red Sea areas, aiming at empowering women as well as encouraging education and combating child labour.
WFP is the world's largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide. Each year, on average, WFP feeds more than 90 million people in more than 70 countries.
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For more information please contact (email address: email@example.com):
GianPietro Bordignon, Gianpietro.Bordignon@wfp.org Tel. +225281730
Abeer Etefa, WFP/Cairo, Tel. +202 2528 1730 ext. 2600 Mob. +2 010 666 34352
Reem Nada, WFP/Cairo, Tel. +202 2528 1730 ext. 2610, Mob. +2 010 666 34522