PANAMA CITY – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has welcomed a contribution of €3 million (US$3.1 million) from the European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection Department (ECHO) to provide food assistance to approximately 73,000 people affected by the drought in Guatemala and Honduras.
Despite the efforts of the authorities and WFP, more than 1.8 million people – mostly smallholder and subsistence farmers and day labourers – remain affected by the impact of both the drought in 2014 and the Coffee Rust in Guatemala and Honduras. Their situation is not expected to improve until late 2015, according to assessments carried out by the two governments, WFP and partners in both countries.
“We are very grateful to ECHO for this timely contribution which comes at the peak of the lean season and with a poor harvest forecast as families are still struggling to recover from last year’s drought and the impact of the Coffee Rust,” said WFP Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean, Miguel Barreto. “The severity and duration of the drought left its mark on families with fragile livelihoods who have limited access to land, basic health services and education.”
Through ECHO funding and in coordination with the governments, WFP will assist some 52,500 people in Guatemala and 20,500 people in Honduras to meet their immediate food and urgent needs through cash and voucher transfers for a period of 90 days.
Cash and vouchers will be distributed among people who participate in asset creation activities to help them rebuild their livelihoods. These activities include soil and water conservation, agriculture best practices and training to cope with natural events, as well as strengthening surveillance systems for food and nutrition.
Special groups – comprising elderly or disabled people, families with acutely malnourished children, households headed by women, as well as those with no access to land—will also receive cash and vouchers.
WFP and the governments of Guatemala and Honduras are implementing all of the asset creation activities in coordination and with the technical support of other partners on the ground.
Cash and vouchers are especially useful when food is available in the markets, but people lack the resources to buy it. Most of the beneficiaries who will receive cash and vouchers live in Western Guatemala, South-Western Honduras and the Dry Corridor –a drought-prone area also shared with El Salvador and Nicaragua.
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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 75 countries.
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For more information please contact (email address: firstname.lastname@example.org):
Alejandro Chicheri, WFP/Latin America and the Caribbean, Tel. 507 317 3900, Mov. 507 6671 5355
Elio Rujano, WFP/Latin America and the Caribbean, Tel. 507 317 3900, Mob. 507 6677 0608 Francisco Fión, WFP/Guatemala, Tel +502 2300 6000, Mov. +502 5994 9404
Hetze Tosta, WFP/Honduras, Tel. +504 3190-5773