WFP needs US$35m to cover food assistance in Myanmar


A girl in Myanmar is fed a meal after her mother received training in nutrition and hygiene from World Vision. Photo: World Vision

A girl in Myanmar is fed a meal after her mother received training in nutrition and hygiene from World Vision. Photo: World Vision 

The World Food Programme in Myanmar is short of US$35 million [K35 billion] for the country’s food assistance requirements this year.

In a report released March 27, the organization said it expects relief assistance to be fully operational in April for internally displaced peoples in the northern Shan townships of Nam Tit, Nam Kham and Kut Khai.

But it forecast food pipeline breaks by mid-August unless the funding shortfall is plugged.

The organization is now negotiating with the government for access to 4,000 conflict-affected residents staying at Border 125 point camp in the Kokang area.

WFP has also prepositioned food aid in the Lashio area to serve Kokang people fleeing  clashes between the Myanmar military and the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army.

Funding woes earlier forced the WFP to suspend activities in Kokang, affecting 4,800 pregnant women and nursing mothers, children under 2 and people living with HIV and TB clients.

The suspension, implemented in November 2014, covers the Shan, Magway and Rakhine states. WFP said the forced measure has affected 174,000 schoolchildren and their 522,000 family members.

Contributions from Japan, EU, Australia and Switzerland came through in February and March this year, allowing WFP to meet immediate needs in Myanmar.

The food aid suspension forced 20 percent of 6,570 boarding school students in the Wa area to skip classes 3-4 school days per month, according to a February 2015 assessment of 22 townships by WFP’ sub-office in Pangkham.

The organization said it expects even higher school drop outs for the next semester with the school feeding suspension mainly accounting for that.

It will be less likely for parents to continue sending their children to schools without WFP’s school feeding, according to its March 2015 report.

The top five funding sources of WFP in Myanmar are Japan, USA, EU, Australia and Switzerland.

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