Wednesday, July 8th, 2020

US launches $7m food aid to help poor in Dhaka at risk of COVID-19

Published 10:40 pm | July 08, 2020

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Online desk ; A new $7 million life-saving food assistance project has been launched to help the poor households in Dhaka at higher risk of COVID-19.

US Ambassador to Bangladesh Earl Miller, State Minister for Social Welfare Md Ashraf Ali Khan Khasru and Richard Ragan, country representative of World Food Programme launched the initiative on Wednesday, according to a press release sent to the Daily Observer by the US Embassy in Dhaka on Wednesday.

The programme will be funded by the US government, through the United States Agency for International Development, and implemented by the World Food Programme, the food-assistance branch of the United Nations and the world’s largest humanitarian organisation addressing hunger and promoting food security.

This programme will complement the ongoing efforts by Bangladesh to respond to the COVID-19 epidemic, said the US Embassy in Dhaka.

The food assistance programme will provide aid to 50,000 people living in low-income areas of Kalyanpur and Sattala Slum by delivering food packages to the families who are quarantined due to a family member being infected with COVID-19.

Additionally, area residents will receive cash-based transfers for free or low-cost fresh vegetables from Bangladeshi farmers, and other nutritious foods from local vendors.

As the program expands, it will work with local farmers, helping to re-establish linkages among families, markets, and local agricultural production.

This critical food assistance initiative will be implemented by the World Food Programme in partnership with BRAC.

As additional funding is received from other donors, WFP plans to expand this pilot project to other urban areas in the country.

This new initiative is part of the latest efforts by the US to provide assistance to countries responding to the effects of COVID-19.

Since the beginning of the outbreak, the US has committed more than $1.3 billion in emergency health, humanitarian, economic, and development assistance specifically aimed at helping governments, international organisations, and non-governmental organisations fight the pandemic.

In Bangladesh, the US government, through USAID alone, has provided nearly $37 million to support COVID-19 response efforts.

‘No family should face hunger because they are staying in their home to help stop the spread of COVID-19,’ said US Ambassador Earl Miller. ‘This pilot programme will help households in these low-income urban areas of Dhaka get the nutritious food they need to stay healthy during these difficult days.’

The US government, through USAID alone, has provided more than $7 billion in development assistance to Bangladesh since 1971.

In 2019, USAID alone provided over $200 million to improve the lives of people in Bangladesh through programmes that expand food security and economic opportunity, improve health and education, promote democratic institutions and practices, protect the environment, and increase resilience to climate change.

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