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World Food Program Increases Aid to Needy Gazans

By VOA News May 17, 2021

The World Food Program says it is increasing assistance to more than 51,000 people in north Gaza as the conflict with Israel shows no signs of ending.

To provide this assistance for three months, the WFP said it needs $14 million.

It also said it needs an additional $31.8 million "to be able to continue providing regular food assistance to more than 435,000 vulnerable people in Gaza and the West Bank for the next six months."

The aid will come in the form of cash and be targeted at people who need help for the first time, as well as those already receiving WFP assistance.

The U.N. agency made its comments Monday as the violence entered its second week, and Israel pummeled Gaza City with more airstrikes.

WFP said it already "regularly supports" around 260,000 Gazans and that more than two-thirds of Gazans were already suffering food insecurity before the current violence.

"For people who have lost or fled their homes, one of the most pressing needs at the moment is food. The quickest and most effective way we can provide support is with cash in the form of e-vouchers. Food is available for the time being, and many local shops are still open, including those we have already contracted for our regular e-voucher support," Samer AbdelJaber, WFP representative and country director in the Palestinian territories, said in a statement.

The situation in Gaza has been exacerbated, WFP said, by the closing of crossings into Gaza, which is causing food prices to soar.

The coronavirus pandemic has also played a role in the deteriorating situation, the WFP said.

"People in Gaza have already been living on the edge, and many families struggle to put food on the table. Their situation has deteriorated even further over the past year due to COVID-19 pandemic restrictions," said Corinne Fleischer, WFP regional director for the Middle East and North Africa. "The majority of the population cannot withstand further shocks, and the current situation could unleash a crisis that could spill into the entire region."

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