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Minister Sargent announces additional €2 million contribution to the world food programme to support humanitarian relief for chad

Mr Trevor Sargent T.D., Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture and Food, today announced a donation of €2 million to the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP). He said "the funding will be used to provide air transport for food to refugees in remote regions of Chad and in support of the overall humanitarian efforts in the region. This funding is in addition to the core funding of €8.5 million provided by the Department of Agriculture and Food in May 2007 and brings total funding from the Department to €10.5 million this year."

The Department of Agriculture and Food and Irish Aid in the Department of Foreign Affairs work together to support the vital work of WFP. Irish Aid responds to specific WFP emergency appeals and, to date, have provided some €8.8m during 2007. All Irish funding to WFP is in the form of untied cash grants.

Minister Sargent added "the provision of the €2m is a direct response to the WFP's appeal for new donations to mount a major food assistance and logistics project aimed at feeding more than 230,000 refugees and 150,000 internally displaced persons in eastern Chad."

He went on to say "WFP supplies monthly food rations to Sudanese refugees who have fled the conflict in neighbouring Darfur as well as native Chadians internally displaced by the troubles. The UN Agency has also implemented programmes to help local host populations, under pressure from the influx of refugees and internally displaced persons, meet their food needs. This will involve the buying and shipping of 79,000 tonnes of food to eastern Chad by air and also using fleets of trucks travelling overland. Security and the current rainy season combine to confront humanitarian agencies in Chad with a particular challenging environment at the moment. Access is vital if relief organisations such as the WFP are to help those in need in a timely manner."

9 September, 2007

Date Released: 09 September 2007