WFP says 18% of Kyrgyz population food-insecure

By Asker Sultanov and Staff

2012-04-13

BISHKEK – The UN World Food Programme (WFP) April 13 said 18% of Kyrgyz lack food security, Fergana News reported.

“Today people spend much more on food than in past years,” said acting WFP Kyrgyzstan Country Director Michael Huggins. “High prices... have forced many poor families to take dangerous measures like skipping meals and reducing portions.”

The WFP is responding by distributing food aid to more than 370,000 rural Kyrgyz who need help after the severe winter, Fergana News reported. The aid will go only to families living below the poverty line and will total about 6,000 tonnes. It includes three months’ supply of vitamin-enriched flour and vegetable oil.

The WFP and Kyrgyz government plan to aid 500,000 Kyrgyz by the end of 2012, Huggins added.

As part of its winter relief effort, the Kyrgyz government is giving needy families in seven districts a two-month advance on welfare benefits (totalling 63.5m KGS or US $1.4m) and has distributed 420 tonnes of flour, Kyrgyz Social Development Minister Ravshan Sabirov said April 13.

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