JERUSALEM – The United Nations World Food Program (WFP) welcomed a contribution of CAD$2 million (approximately US$1.7 million) from the Government of Canada to provide much-needed food assistance for two months for more than 64,000 of people in the Gaza Strip who have been most-affected by the recent armed escalation and ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
“The recent conflict has caused significant destruction and increased the suffering of Gaza’s population that has already been grappling with hefty challenges with little prospect for breakthrough,” said WFP Representative and Country Director Samer AbdelJaber. “We are grateful for Canada’s consistent and generous support which helps us put food on the table of many vulnerable Palestinians.”
A recent study conducted by the United Nations, the World Bank, and the European Union shortly after the 11-day hostilities in May 2021 in Gaza shows worsening social conditions. The Rapid Damage and Needs Assessment (RDNA), forecasts unemployment and poverty to – already high prior to the hostilities – to increase by two and 2.3 percentage points respectively. Unemployment and poverty, the two key drivers for food insecurity in Gaza. Poverty in Gaza is currently 16.3 percentage point increase above the 2016-2017 levels.
“WFP is a long-standing global partner of the Government of Canada and plays a critical role in improving food security for vulnerable people in crises throughout the world” said Robin Wettlaufer, Representative of Canada in Ramallah.
Families will receive an electronic food voucher credited with US$10.30 per person per month to purchase diverse food of their choice from 200 designated retail shops. The majority of people who will receive this support are women and children who struggle to make ends meet in the wake of an acute humanitarian crisis in Gaza.
WFP has been using and expanding the use of vouchers since 2011 based on evidence demonstrating its stronger impact on people’s food security status and positive spill-over effects on the local economy. Vouchers or Cash-Based Transfers (CBTs) give people more freedom of choice, dignity, and the flexibility to collect their entitlements at their own convenience.
WFP and partners are providing regular food assistance to more than 350,000 of the poorest and most food insecure non-refugees in Gaza and the West Bank. The food assistance has been a lifeline for those people who live on less than US$1 and now are coping with additional strain on their fragile livelihoods and nutrition and health due to the unfolding impact of recurring conflicts and COVID-19. WFP also coordinates with the Ministry of Social Development, UN agencies and other stakeholders to respond to immediate food needs of additional affected people during emergencies.