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Yemen: UN Steps Up Food Aid To Somali Refugees

Yemen: UN steps up food aid to Somali refugees

6 February 2008 – Somalis fleeing the violence in their country for Yemen will receive a food boost from the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), it was announced today.

The agency has launched a $4.4 million appeal for 5,000 metric tons of food to feed 43,500 refugees, up from the 33,000 people it is currently assisting.

"More and more people are arriving on Yemen's shores after barely surviving the dangerous journey by boat," said WFP Yemen Country Director Mohamed El-Kouhene.

Somalis have been crossing the Gulf of Aden to Yemen, but the Yemeni Government has said that it has limited assistance to help new arrivals and has asked the international community for increased aid.

"It is up to us to help them as Yemen's economy is already overstretched," Mr. El-Kouhene noted.

Nearly 30,000 people - mostly from Somalia - have arrived in Yemen after making the dangerous journey across the Gulf of Aden, with more than 1,400 dead or missing.

Upon arriving in Yemen, refugees receive WFP food for several days until they are moved to the isolated Kharaz camp, where they receive a monthly ration.

Today's increase in WFP assistance is a result of the anticipated arrival of new refugees in Yemen, as well as the growth of the refugee population at Kharaz, where job opportunities are scarce.

The new operation - to be implemented with the Government, the UN High Commissioner of Refugees (UNHCR) and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) - will also provide food assistance in return for work and training to help refugees become more self-sufficient.


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