World Food Programme expands activities

The World Food Programme has expanded its operations in Cote d'Ivoire to assist tens of thousands of people affected by unrest, and resumed food distribution to schools, WFP reported on Tuesday.

In collaboration with the Ministry of Education, WFP has distributed food rations to 90,000 pupils in 700 primary schools. Distribution plans in the central and northern regions were pending clarification of security issues, WFP said.

Around 250,000 children had been receiving daily rations in 2,000 school canteens, before 19 September.

"WFP plans to return to its sub-office in Bouake this week to monitor the humanitarian situation and expand emergency assistance to displaced people, and to prepare resumption of its agricultural development programmes in the northern regions, including the Japanese funded Community based Lowlands project," the UN agency said.

About 10,000 displaced people, it added, were currently receiving emergency food rations in Bouake and surrounding villages. Provision of supplies to another 5,000 immigrant workers who fled cocoa fields in the Man region, were also being carried out with the ICRC.

"The civil unrest in Cote d'Ivoire also fanned ethnic tensions. WFP in coordination with neighboring countries, is putting emergency plans in place to respond to a possible influx of immigrant workers into their countries of origin. About four million workers from Burkina Faso, Ghana, Mali and Niger live in Cote d'Ivoire," WFP added.

The unrest in Cote d'ivoire started on 19 September when mutinous soldiers staged a failed coup. While they were routed by loyalist forces from Abidjan, the mutinous soldiers retained control of some central and northern towns like Bouake.