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WFP pledges food for sick

The World Food Programme (WFP) will maintain its feeding programs for Cambodian HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis patients after securing the necessary funds from the government and international donors.

Thomas Keusters, WFP country director for Cambodia, said the organization had received a pledge of 3,000 tons of rice from the government and cash donations from Spain, Sweden and Australia.

This will allow the WFP to keep the program for the sick running on a permanent basis, ensuring that 15,000 tuberculosis patients and 15,500 families afflicted by HIV/AIDS will continue to receive vital food support, he said.

However, the WFP’s school-feeding program, suspended by the cash-strapped aid group last month due to the spiraling cost of rice, will remain on hold until further notice.

“We made the decision, in late March, that we would suspend our major programs and would not take on any additional food-for-work projects,” said Keusters. “We just don’t have the necessary availability of rice. We’re desperately struggling to maintain the life-saving programs in HIV-AIDS and tuberculosis.”

Some children, however, may continue to receive food from the WFP.

“We will continue the take-home rations, and the children with food scholarships in grades four, five and six,” Keusters said, adding that some schools might also have food stocks left over from past WFP programs, which previously supplied 450,000 meals per day in Cambodian schools.



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