WFP Distributes Food To Families In Northern Iraqi Town Besieged For Over Two Years

Published September 6, 2016

BAGHDAD – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has distributed desperately needed food for more than 30,000 people in and around the northern Iraqi town of Qayyarah, 60 kilometres south of Mosul. The town was under siege and inaccessible for over two years.

Through its local partners Muslim Aid and Women Empowerment Organization, WFP distributed emergency food rations containing ready-to-eat foods such as dates, beans and canned foods to meet families’ immediate needs as well as monthly food rations containing rice, lentils, wheat flour, bulgur wheat, beans and vegetable oil in the past week.

These rations will provide enough food for more than 30,000 people for a full month. WFP also distributed food to almost 2,000 displaced people living in camps and with host families in areas surrounding Qayyarah.

“The people of Qayyarah had been living under siege for two years and are suffering extreme hunger with scarce access to food supplies. Reaching them with life-saving food assistance is a very positive step forward,” said Sally Haydock, WFP Iraq Country Director. “Thanks to a generous contribution from the Government of Germany, WFP is able to provide more food assistance to families who are being displaced from the greater Mosul area.”

Last week, WFP and its humanitarian partners assessed the humanitarian situation in Qayyarah and found that all of the people remaining in the town are in urgent need of food and other forms of humanitarian assistance. All of its shops were either destroyed or closed and food stocks were running dangerously low, with people surviving only on wheat from the recent harvest.

The town is in a dire state. Black smoke rises from oil fields surrounding the town set ablaze during fighting in recent weeks. Safe drinking water, electricity and medical services remain nearly impossible to access.

Over the last two years people from the Qayyarah area fled to camps in Erbil, Kirkuk and Salah al-Din, where they receive regular food assistance through WFP’s partners. More than 3 million Iraqis have been displaced by conflict in Iraq since mid-June 2014. In response, WFP has provided food assistance to more than 1 million vulnerable displaced Iraqis across all 18 governorates.

WFP is entirely voluntarily funded and relies on support from governments, companies and individuals to provide food assistance to internally displaced Iraqis. WFP is scaling up its food assistance in Iraq to support newly displaced families from the Mosul area, thanks to a contribution from Germany of US$27.9 million. To continue to assist displaced families in Iraq until the end of the year, WFP urgently requires US$106 million.

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WFP is the world’s largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide, delivering food assistance in emergencies and working with communities to improve nutrition and build resilience. Each year, WFP assists some 80 million people in around 80 countries.

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For more information please contact (email address:
Abeer Etefa, WFP/Cairo, Tel. +2010 66634352
Dina El-Kassaby, WFP/Cairo, Tel. +2010 15218882
Frances Kennedy, WFP/Rome, Tel +39 06 6513 3725, Mob. +39 34 6760 0806
Bettina Luescher, WFP/Geneva, Tel. +41 22 917 8564, Mob. +41 79 842 8057
Gregory Barrow, WFP/London, Tel.  +44 20 72409001, Mob. +44 7968 008474
Gerald Bourke, WFP/New York, Tel. +1 646 5566909, Mob. +1 646 525 9982
Steve Taravella, WFP/Washington DC, Tel. +1 202 6531149, Mob. +1 202 7705993