BEIRUT – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) is radically expanding its support to a key Lebanese social assistance program, with the goal of helping 270,000 people get through the triple shock caused by economic crisis, the COVID-19 lockdown and the blasts at Beirut port.

The U.N. World Food Programme currently supports 15,000 families (105,000 people) who benefit from the Ministry of Social Affair’s (MoSA) National Poverty Targeting Programme (NPTP) and will increase its scope to reach an additional 35,000 families by the end of 2020. The NPTP is Lebanon’s only national social assistance program.

“Now more than ever, impoverished families in Lebanon need a safety net to get through the month. The devastating blast that ripped through Beirut added to the woes of thousands of families already struggling to stay afloat,” said Abdallah Alwardat, Country Director and Representative of the U.N. World Food Programme in Lebanon.

“This is a critical period for the country, and we need to show solidarity with the people of Lebanon,” he added. “The U.N. World Food Programme’s action so far has ranged from cash assistance to supporting food security and importing wheat flour — all with the aim of standing with Lebanon.”

Through this program, the U.N. World Food Programme provides a monthly assistance of $46 per person for a family of six. This money is transferred to an e-card that families can use to pay for their food when they are at one of the U.N. World Food Programme-contracted shops across Lebanon. The selection of eligible families is checked by the U.N. World Food Programme through its collaboration with MoSA to ensure the highest levels of accountability and transparency and that aid reaches those most in need.

“We cannot lose time, the quicker we can do this the better. We must be objective and transparent and in so, we will rebuild the trust with our people,” said Dr. Ramzi Moucharafieh, Caretaker Minister of Social Affairs, adding: “As a physician, I learned a lot while working at MoSA, about our people and leadership. People should not be struggling to get something that is a basic human right or because we don’t have resources. This Ministry is called Social Affairs for a reason. Who takes care of people when they go to hospital? When they need help with education or food? The whole system needs to be worked out.”

The food e-card is strictly used in any of the 460 U.N. World Food Programme-contracted shops found throughout Lebanon. These shops were chosen as per U.N. World Food Programme standards where special attention is given to the amount and quality of food items, hygiene and acceptable prices. The shops are regularly monitored by U.N. World Food Programme staff. The U.N. World Food Programme also monitors the overall conditions of beneficiary families to ensure that cash assistance provided under the NPTP is achieving its objectives in enabling families to meet their food needs.

Supporting this program is possible thanks to the generous contributions of donor countries such as Germany, the European Union, Norway, Italy and France.

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The U.N. World Food Programme is the world’s largest humanitarian organization, saving lives in emergencies, building prosperity and supporting a sustainable future for people recovering from conflict, disasters and the impact of climate change.

Follow us on Twitter @WFPUSA @wfp_media @WFPLebanon

For more information, contact:

Malak Jaafar, WFP/ Lebanon, Mob. +961 76 320 761
Abeer Etefa WFP/ Cairo, Mob. +20 106 6663 4352
Reem Nada, WFP/ Cairo, Mob. +20 106 6663 4522

Donations from across the globe bring relief to the people of Beirut, including the support of The Weeknd, DJ Snake, Belly, French Montana, Ali Gatie, Massari, and Lebanese Celebrities Nancy Ajram, Elissa, Maya Diab, Ragheb Alama and many others.

The #GlobalAidForLebanon campaign launched by XO Records CEO Wassim “Sal” Slaiby in collaboration with Global Citizen and World Food Program USA (WFP USA) has brought in more than $1.2 million dollars in cash and pledges to date, exceeding $1 million in just ten days, as donations continue to come in. Hundreds of donors have contributed, including music notables and celebrities.

The campaign was launched less than two weeks ago to raise funds for the victims of the Beirut explosion which killed hundreds of people, injured thousands, and left many people homeless, in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. The funds will be dispersed among the Red Cross Lebanon, the Children’s Cancer Center of Lebanon and the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP).

“I would like to call out the extraordinary efforts of Sal Slaiby, Rima Fakih and Global Citizen for their dedication to ensuring the people of Lebanon get the support they need to survive and rebuild,” said World Food Program USA President and CEO Barron Segar.

“Their lifesaving efforts will ensure that the people who need help will get it, whether its food, shelter or medical assistance. We are very appreciative of their attention and that they chose the Red Cross Lebanon, the Children’s Cancer Center and the United Nations World Food Programme as beneficiaries of this campaign.”

“Our hearts are deeply embedded in our homeland of Lebanon and to see our friends, community and people from across the globe donating to help is truly moving. We have just begun, as this devastation is so deep, and we hope to see the momentum of the fund increase so we can get sufficient help to our country that is in so much need,” said Sal and Rima Slaiby.

Michael Sheldrick, Chief Policy and Government Affairs Officer of Global Citizen, said “Global Citizen is honored to serve as a community of changemakers that are committed to improving the world by taking action, fighting extreme poverty and inspiring lasting change. Scores of Global Citizens answered the call to aid the people of Beirut, in support of the ‘Global Aid for Lebanon’ campaign, and that outpouring of support is a testament to the power of humanity. We know that we are strongest when we band together to uplift communities in need and Global Citizen exists so that no community ever has to endure distress alone.”

Funds to the U.N. World Food Programme will support relief efforts in Lebanon, including providing emergency food parcels to highly vulnerable families, as well as families impacted by the longer-term economic crisis; bringing in wheat flour and wheat to ensure the continuity of national bread supply; supporting logistics operations at the badly damaged Port of Beirut and helping to rebuild it by airlifting equipment and setting up warehouses and mobile grain storage units around the port.


The United Nations World Food Programme saves lives in emergencies and changes lives for millions through sustainable development. WFP works in more than 80 countries around the world, feeding people caught in conflict and disasters, and laying the foundations for a better future.

World Food Program USA supports the mission of the United Nations World Food Programme by mobilizing individuals, lawmakers and businesses in the United States to advance the global movement to end hunger. WFP USA bolsters an enduring U.S. legacy of feeding families in need around the world.

Media Contacts:

  • SAL&CO/XO RECORDS, Kathryn Frazier, kathryn@biz3.net
  • World Food Program USA (WFPUSA), Jessamyn Sarmiento, jsarmiento@wfpusa.org
  • Global Citizen, Charmion Kinder, charmion.kinder@globalcitizen.org

Beirut – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) Executive Director David Beasley announced today that the organization is bringing 17,500 metric tons of wheat flour and a three-month supply of wheat into Lebanon to help replenish the country’s food reserves as part of a rapid logistics operation that will also involve setting up warehouses and mobile grain storage units.

Beasley’s visit comes as Lebanon faces a triple shock from the explosion, an economic meltdown and the impact of COVID-19 infection. He spent three days in Lebanon visiting the Ports of Beirut and Tripoli, witnessing food distributions and the provision of food in communal kitchens run by U.N. World Food Programme partner, Caritas. He also visited injured U.N. World Food Programme staff in the hospital and had meetings with the Lebanese president and top government officials where he stressed the U.N. World Food Programme’s operational autonomy and neutrality.

“It is hard to comprehend the sheer scale of the destruction caused by the explosion until you have seen it for yourself. I am heartbroken,” said David Beasley, Executive Director of the U.N. World Food Programme. “Today, because of the port explosion, thousands of people have been left homeless and hungry. The U.N. World Food Programme is racing to provide help for the most vulnerable and to prevent food shortages across the country.”

Lebanon imports nearly 85 percent of its food needs and – prior to the blast – the bulk of trade coming into the country passed through Beirut Port. The first wheat flour shipment that the U.N. World Food Programme is bringing to the country is due to arrive within the coming ten days.

As a result of the extensive damage to Beirut port, the U.N. World Food Programme will be bringing in equipment to render the port operational enough to facilitate the import of wheat and other bulk grains into Lebanon. The U.N. World Food Programme chief welcomed a third U.N. World Food Programme plane carrying generators and mobile storage units as an immediate solution.

“After examining the port we feel confident that we can establish an emergency operation very soon. There’s no time to waste as we are looking at a catastrophe in the making if we do not get food in and get this part of the port operational again,” he said.

According to the World Bank, one million people in Lebanon are currently living below the poverty line.

Beasley added that the blast that devastated Beirut Port turned the world’s eyes towards the country that had been suffering without being heard for over a year. “It’s time to listen,” he said.

The U.N. World Food Programme has procured 150,000 food parcels to distribute to families impacted by the economic crisis and COVID-19 lockdown measures. Since the blast, the U.N. World Food Programme distributed parcels to two local communal kitchens run by NGOs that are providing meals to victims of the blast and volunteers working to clean up the debris.

Building on its existing cash assistance program in Lebanon that serves more than 100,000 Lebanese, the U.N. World Food Programme will scale up its assistance by ten-fold to reach up to 1 million people across the country including Beirut residents who have been directly affected by the blast. The most vulnerable people will be identified in partnership with local and international NGOs who are engaged in relief efforts, with the assistance of community leaders and U.N. World Food Programme partners.

This emergency assistance the U.N. World Food Programme is launching in Lebanon requires a total of $235 million to provide food support to the most vulnerable as well as logistics and supply chain support to the country.

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The United Nations World Food Programme is the world’s largest humanitarian organization, saving lives in emergencies, building prosperity and supporting a sustainable future for people recovering from conflict, disasters and the impact of climate change.

Follow us on Twitter @WFPUSA @wfp_media  @wfp_MENA

Contact: 

  • Shaza Moghraby, WFP/New York, Mob. + 1 929 289 9867
  • Steve Taravella, WFP/ Washington, Mob.  +1 202 770 5993

WASHINGTON, DC (August 11, 2020) —Following the devastating explosion and damage at the Port of Beirut, World Food Program USA launched a fundraising campaign to support the emergency response in Lebanon. The blast is exacerbating an already grim economic and food security situation that has worsened due to the country’s financial crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic. World Food Program USA stands by the Lebanese people during this challenging time and is committed to supporting their immediate needs and long-term recovery.

“We are extremely saddened by the devastation and loss caused by the explosion in Beirut. Thousands of people became homeless overnight, were injured or lost loved ones in the blasts. This devastating event comes as Lebanon faces its worst financial crisis, with families struggling to buy food and make ends meet,” said Barron Segar, president and CEO, World Food Program USA. “Many Lebanese families will be pushed into dire circumstances if we don’t help immediately.  We will provide as much support as we can for residents who have been directly affected by the blasts and urgently need assistance during these difficult times.”

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) is on the ground in Lebanon mobilizing recovery operations and working to operationalize areas of the damaged port. Speaking from Beirut this week, David Beasley, U.N. World Food Programme executive director, said that with grain stocks depleted, he is “very, very concerned” about food insecurity because 85 percent of the country’s grain comes through Beirut’s destroyed port. According to Beasley, the U.N. World Food Programme is shipping 17,500 metric tons of wheat flour to Beirut that will arrive “within two weeks, and that’s to put bread on the table of all the people of Lebanon and that will give us a bread supply for 20 days.”

The U.N. World Food Programme will deliver an additional 30-day supply of about 30,000 metric tons of wheat, and then another 100,000 metric tons within 60 days. We will also allocate 5,000 food parcels to impacted families. Each food package—containing basic staples such as rice, pasta, bulgur, lentils, beans, chickpeas, tuna, vegetable oil, sugar, salt and tomato paste—is enough to feed a family of five for one month.

According to the United Nations, Lebanon’s recovery and reconstruction will be a multi-phase operation expected to cost billions of dollars. Financing the recovery will require both public and private sector support. The World Food Program USA is committed to doing all it can to support Lebanon’s long road to recovery.

To support our emergency response in Lebanon, donate here.

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About World Food Program USA
World Food Program USA (WFP USA) is the recognized leader in America’s pursuit to end global hunger, inspiring citizens to do everything in their power to create a zero-hunger world. We work with U.S. policymakers, corporations, foundations and individuals to generate financial and in-kind resources for the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) to feed families in need around the world and to develop policies necessary to alleviate global hunger. To learn more about our mission, please visit us at www.wfpusa.org.

Media Contact: 
Toula Athas
Senior Manager, Communications and Public Relations
World Food Program USA
tathas@wfpusa.org
202-627-3940

– ‘Global Aid for Lebanon’ Kicks off with a $250,000 Donation from Sal & Rima Slaiby and Will Support the Lebanese Red Cross, United Nations World Food Programme and Children’s Cancer Center of Lebanon –

– Global Citizens Urged to Donate, Support and Take Action on Behalf of the ‘Global Aid for Lebanon’ Campaign and Step up as a Global Community to Support the Lebanese People –

New York, New York (Monday, August 10, 2020) – CEO of XO Wassim “Sal” Slaiby, along with Global Citizen, Red Cross Lebanon, World Food Program USA and the Children’s Cancer Center of Lebanon, today launched Global Aid for Lebanon to raise funds for the victims of the Beirut explosion, which has killed hundreds of people, injured thousands, and left hundreds and thousands of people homeless, in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The campaign has been kicked off with a generous $250,000 donation from Sal & Rima Slaiby, and will support the Lebanese Red Cross, United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and Children’s Cancer Center Of Lebanon. Global Citizen has partnered with the Slaiby family to step up as a global community and support the Lebanese people. Global Citizens and compassionate community members from all around the world are urged to donate, take action, and spread the word on social media using the hashtag #GlobalAidForLebanon about the Global Aid for Lebanon campaign found at www.globalcitizen.org/Beirut.

“My heart aches for Lebanon. The massive destruction scenes brought back to my memory the hard times I experienced with my parents during the war and that forced me to leave Lebanon at an early age following the loss of my dad, so I urge you all to take part in the ‘Global Aid for Lebanon’ campaign to raise funds and support for the region,” said Wassim “Sal” Slaiby, CEO of SAL&CO / XO RECORDS.

George Kettaneh Secretary General of the Lebanese Red Cross continued, “In a country that is suffering now from so many overlapping crisis and tragedies, the Lebanese Red Cross reaffirms its commitment to stand by the most vulnerable and to provide neutral, impartial and independent humanitarian aid. Our ambulance volunteers were on the front line of the response after the blast, and we are now working with all other aid actors to provide relief, shelter, primary healthcare and basic assistance to all those who need it most.”

Abdallah Alwardat, Country Director and Representative of the United Nations World Food Programme in Lebanon also shared sentiments, “Nearly 85% of food in Lebanon is imported – much of it coming through the country’s largest port, which now lies in ruins. Even before the explosion, soaring unemployment and the global pandemic meant many people were already struggling to meet their basic needs. We’re working to get food to families in urgent need and to offer logistical and supply chain expertise for the ports of Beirut or Tripoli to ensure no food shortages occur.”

Rima Fakih Slaiby, Ambassador of the Children Cancer Center of Lebanon concluded, “I may have not been close enough to hear the blast, but we heard the tragic cries of the mothers and fathers who lost their children, the tears of the Lebanese people who were left with nothing. The heartbreak of a nation, our beloved nation, will always be within our hearts. The war forced us to leave and we cannot sit idly by and ignore clear cries for help, so we urge you all to take part in the ‘Global Aid for Lebanon’ campaign to raise funds and support Lebanon.”

Lebanon was already in economic trouble before the August 4th explosion destroyed the Port of Beirut, which handles 80% of the country’s imports, including food. The country has experienced high rates of unemployment, and COVID-19 has made day-to-day life for many a struggle. Human Rights Watch issued a report this week before the explosion warning of mass hunger across the country due to COVID-19.

Disastrous events like the explosion in Beirut make accessing essential services like health care, water, food, and education difficult, and can lead to increased poverty. To help the people of Beirut cope in the aftermath of this catastrophe, view the Global Citizen website, and post the graphic and donation links on all social media platforms for continued awareness and support of the people of Beirut.

“Global Citizen stands in solidarity with the people of Beirut and is proud to lock arms with Sal & Rima Slaiby to support this urgent appeal during this devastating time,” said Michael Sheldrick, Chief Policy and Government Affairs Officer, Global Citizen. “We can support the people of Beirut to recover and rebuild, but only if we have compassion for each other when compassion is needed most. We are asking all Global Citizens to take action and take a stand.”

To take action and show your support, visit http://globalcitizen.org/Beirut and spread the word on social media using the hashtag #GlobalAidForLebanon.

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About Global Citizen:
Global Citizen is the world’s largest movement of action takers and impact makers dedicated to ending extreme poverty by 2030. With over 10 million monthly advocates, our voices have the power to drive lasting change around sustainability, equality, and humanity. We post, tweet, message, vote, sign, and call to inspire those who can make things happen to act — government leaders, businesses, philanthropists, artists, and citizens — together improving lives. By downloading our app, Global Citizens learn about the systemic causes of extreme poverty, take action on those issues, and earn rewards with tickets to concerts, events, and experiences all over the world. To date, the actions of our community, along with high-level advocacy efforts and work with partners, has resulted in commitments and policy announcements from leaders valued at over $48 billion, affecting the lives of more than 880 million people. For more information, visit GlobalCitizen.org.

About the Lebanese Red Cross:
The Lebanese Red Cross (LRC) is a national society that was established on July 9, 1945 as an independent National Society. In 1946, it was recognized by the State as a public nonprofit organization and as an auxiliary team to the medical personnel of the Lebanese Army. In 1947, the Lebanese Red Cross joined the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, which today has affiliates in 191 countries, and became a member of the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. The Lebanese Red Cross Society is led by volunteers, whose mission is to provide relief to victims of natural and human disasters, and help people prevent, prepare for and respond to emergencies, and to mitigate the suffering of the most vulnerable. The goal of the Lebanese Red Cross is to promote peace, serve the society, and alleviate human suffering with neutrality and without any racial, sexual, social, religious or political discrimination. To learn more about the Lebanese Red Cross, visit: http://www.redcross.org.lb.

About the United Nations World Food Programme:
The United Nations World Food Programme is the world’s largest humanitarian organization, saving lives in emergencies, building prosperity and supporting a sustainable future for people recovering from conflict, natural disasters and the impact of climate change. Follow us on Twitter @WFPUSA and @wfp_media.

About the Children’s Cancer Center of Lebanon:
The Children’s Cancer Center of Lebanon (CCCL) is a regional reference center pioneering in the treatment of children with cancer: at no cost to their parents and with complete dependency on donations. Since 2002, the CCCL has treated, over 1,650 children with cancer and offered more than 4,500 external medical consultations to patients from all over Lebanon and the region: with an average 80% cure rate. The center is ISO 9001:2015 certified for quality management and has a diversified and growing fundraising operation to insure the sustainability of funds for treatment and support all along the cancer journey. In addition to that, the CCCL values partnerships and spreads awareness and education about the disease and proper governance and aims to insure optimal methods for regional and global cancer control. Learn more at: www.cccl.org.lb.

Press Contacts:

SAL&CO/XO RECORDS:
Kathryn Frazier, kathryn@biz3.net

Red Cross Lebanon:
Kamal Fares, kamal.fares@redcross.org.lb

World Food Program USA (WFPUSA):
Jessamyn Sarmiento, jsarmiento@wfpusa.org

Children’s Cancer Center of Lebanon:
Eliane Hajj, elianahajj@gmail.com

Global Citizen:
Charmion Kinder, charmion.kinder@globalcitizen.org

Rome – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) is extremely saddened by the Lebanon blasts and extends its condolences to the people of Lebanon, which have always been at the forefront of our humanitarian response in the region.

WFP is rapidly assessing the situation on the ground to be ready to provide emergency support for thousands of people who have become homeless overnight, lost loved ones, were injured or anyone who needs assistance during these difficult times.

The explosion and the damage to the port will exacerbate the grim economic and food security situation in Lebanon. The country – prior to yesterday’s devastating events – had already been undergoing the worst economic crisis in its history and it was being compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic.

As Lebanon imports nearly 85 percent of its food, the severe damage to the Port of Beirut – the largest in the country – would push food prices beyond the reach of many. The price of a monthly food basket – that is a selection of staple food items a family needs –has more than doubled over the past six months.

These events come also at a time of soaring unemployment rates and salary cuts with many families struggling to make ends meet. Currently one million people in Lebanon are living below the poverty line.

A recent WFP survey on the impact of the economic crisis and COVID-19 outbreak and subsequent lockdown measures on livelihoods and food security revealed that food has become a major source of concern with fifty percent of Lebanese saying over the past month they felt worried they would not have enough food to eat.

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The United Nations World Food Programme is the world’s largest humanitarian organization, saving lives in emergencies, building prosperity and supporting a sustainable future for people recovering from conflict, disasters and the impact of climate change.

Follow us on Twitter @WFPUSA @wfp_media @wfp_MENA

Contact:

  • Shaza Moghraby, WFP/New York, Mob. + 1 929 289 9867
  • Steve Taravella, WFP/ Washington, Mob.  +1 202 770 5993

Rome – Escalating hunger needs in sub-Saharan Africa dominate a World Food Programme (WFP) analysis of global hunger hotspots in the first half of 2020 with millions of people requiring life-saving food assistance in Zimbabwe, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Central Sahel region in the coming months.

The sheer scale and complexity of the challenges in Africa and other regions will stretch the resources and capacity of WFP and other agencies to the limit.  Ramping up the humanitarian response will again require the generous support of donor governments to fund the assistance required to save lives and support development.

“WFP is fighting big and complex humanitarian battles on several fronts at the start of 2020,” said David Beasley, Executive Director of WFP. “In some countries, we are seeing conflict and instability combine with climate extremes to force people from their homes, farms and places of work. In others, climate shocks are occurring alongside economic collapse and leaving millions on the brink of destitution and hunger.”

The WFP 2020 Global Hotspots Report highlights grave challenges in sub-Saharan Africa over the next six months with Zimbabwe, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Central Sahel region standing out when it comes to the needs of hungry children, women and men. The WFP report notes that amidst an imploding economy, the situation in Zimbabwe is increasingly precarious as the country enters the peak of its “lean season” when food is at its most scarce and the number of hungry people has reached its highest point in a decade. WFP is planning assistance for more than 4 million people in Zimbabwe as concerns grow that the impact of a regional drought could drag yet more countries down in the first months of the year.

“Last year, WFP was called upon to bring urgent large-scale relief to Yemen, Mozambique after Cyclone Idai, Burkina Faso and many other crises to avert famine,” said Margot Van Der Velden, WFP Director of Emergencies. “But the world is an unforgiving place and as we turn the page into 2020 WFP is confronting new, monumental humanitarian challenges that we need to address with real urgency.”

Hunger Hotspots
  • A rapidly evolving crisis in Haiti is of deep concern at the turn of the year as escalating unrest paralyzes the economy, driving food prices out of reach of many people (+40% between October 2018 and October 2019).  According to a recent IPC survey on food insecurity, this has left 3.7 million people – or one-third of the population – in need of assistance
  • In Asia, Afghanistan faces insecurity combined with drought, leaving more than 11 million people – over a third of the country’s population – severely food insecure.
  • In the Middle East, WFP can look back on its success in Yemen where it scaled up by 50% from providing food assistance to 8 million people a month at the beginning of 2018 to 12 million by the end of the year.
  • As it looks forward into 2020, WFP remains alert to growing food needs in Iraq and Lebanon, where civil unrest and macro-economic crisis are leading to an increase in food insecurity.

WFP estimates it will require more than $10 billion to fully fund all its operations in more than 80 countries around the world in 2020.

“Every year at WFP we plan ahead for the next 12 months and ask for support from the generous governments, private sector institutions and members of the public who help us reach our humanitarian and development goals,” said Beasley.“ As an agency that depends entirely on voluntary donations, we have a responsibility to show WFP can continue to be the most efficient and effective global organization delivering the kind of food assistance that saves lives and changes lives across the world.”

Photos of Hunger Hotspot countries available here.


The United Nations World Food Programme is the world’s largest humanitarian organization, saving lives in emergencies, building prosperity and supporting a sustainable future for people recovering from conflict, natural disasters and the impact of climate change.

Follow us on Twitter @WFPUSA and @wfp_media

For more information please contact (email address: firstname.lastname@wfp.org): Steve Taravella, WFP/Washington, Tel. +1 202 653 1149, Mob. +1 202 770 5993

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