UN agency heads raise alarm at rising levels of food insecurity in Palestine

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WFP food distribution

There's increasing concern at the deteriorating food security situation in the West Bank and Gaza where one in three Palestinian households now struggle to feed their families.

The Executive Director of the UN World Food Programme (WFP) Ertharin Cousin, and the Commissioner-General of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) Filippo Grandi, visited a Bedouin village between Jerusalem and Jericho where a food distribution carried out jointly by the two agencies was taking place.

In nearby Jericho, Cousin met shoppers using electronic vouchers from WFP to buy olive oil, salt and other groceries, most of which are produced locally in Palestine.

In Geneva, Spokesperson Corinne Momal-Vanian says WFP has welcomed a new agreement with UNRWA that will strengthen cooperation in Palestine and throughout the region and address the urgent needs of the population.

“High food prices and low wages mean that 1.6 million Palestinians don't know where their next meal is coming, according to WFP's Executive Director. A joint survey found that a total of 1.6 million people, 34 per cent of households in Palestine were food insecure in 2012 which is a dramatic rise from 27 per cent in 2011. “

Meanwhile, WFP's Executive Director Ertharin Cousin says "Food security is a vital component for sustained peace across the region".

WFP reaches approximately 650,000 food-insecure, non-refugee households in Palestine – the poorest of the poor. UNRWA provides food assistance to more than one million food insecure Palestine refugees across the Middle East.

Donn Bobb, United Nations.

Duration: 1’38″

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