WFP short of funds and help
The World Food Programme, which feeds about 1.1 million Lankans mostly affected by the war, appears to have a mighty hurdle to overcome this year, with its budget for the year of US $72 million being short by as much as US $ 44 million.
This problem was brought to light at the annual review meeting of WFP with the GAs and other counterpart officials of the Government, held in Colombo on February 29 and March 01.
WFP Country Director Mohammed Salaheen contacted in this regard while confirming the problem was however optimistic that the donors will come forward with the required assistance as they go along especially considering the ground situation.
Meanwhile, Mr. Salaheen expressed satisfaction that the problem of their lorries being held up at Medawachchiya for long periods due to strict security measures was now being sorted out.
Recently, as many as 19 trucks carrying food for WFP were held up in this manner. The WFP Country Director said all that had been cleared as the Government was committed to seeing that food transport to the North occurred smoothly.
He said there was no problem with the 20 lorries owned by WFP as those trucks were sealed by the security forces, but the problems arose with about 100 other vehicles that the organization hires each month to transport food. Now they are hoping to get the army to seal those trucks as well. “Those things are being sorted out with understanding all round,” he said. (RA)