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Belgium Awards US$2M Food Aid For Bangladesh

Food aid for Bangladesh

Sabine Laruelle, federal minister for the self-employed and agriculture, responsible for development cooperation, has decided to award food aid totalling 2 million USD (roughly 1.4 million EUR) to Bangladesh to assist 200,000 people, mainly small farmers hit by Cyclone Sidr on 15 November.

This aid comes on top of the previous subsidy of 250,000 EUR awarded to Caritas by Foreign Minister Karel De Gucht for a project intended to restore 2,500 families' means of subsistence by distributing agricultural tools and seeds, on the one hand, and providing temporary employment under a 'cash for work' programme, on the other.

On 15 November, Bangladesh was hit by the major, category 4 Cyclone Sidr and associated heavy rains. The southwestern districts of Bangladesh were particularly badly affected.

In addition to meeting the population's urgent requirement regarding food, shelter and medical assistance, it is also important to already start thinking about the next phase. The country's agriculture, fishery and animal husbandry sectors have been badly hit, and as a result the local population has not just lost all its food, but the next harvest is also under threat, which could make them dependent for longer on international aid.

Minister Sabine Laruelle decided to free up a sum of 2 million USD (roughly 1.4 million EUR) via the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) to provide the kind of agricultural support urgently needed by the affected areas.

The aim of the project is to get agricultural activities and fishing going again as soon as possible, to enable the poor people worst affected by the cyclone to regain the means to feed themselves and thus restore their dignity.

Next week Minister Sabine Laruelle will meet FAO Director-General Jacques Diouf for talks that will focus primarily on details of the project's implementation.


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