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Humanitarian Aid

United Nations Oil for Food

The Oil-for-Food programme was established by the Security Council on 14 April 1995. Some 3.4 billion barrels of Iraqi oil valued at about $65 billion have been exported under the programme since December 1996. Of this amount, 72 per cent of the total has been allocated towards humanitarian needs nationwide since December 2000. The balance goes to: Gulf War reparations through a Compensation Fund (25 per cent since December 2000); UN administrative and operational costs for the programme (2.2 per cent) and costs for the weapons inspection programme (0.8 per cent).

Almost $28 billion worth of humanitarian supplies and equipment have been delivered to Iraq under the Oil-for-Food Programme, including $1.6 billion worth of oil industry spare parts and equipment. An additional $10 billion worth of supplies are currently in the production and delivery pipeline. The Programme has some $3.2 billion in unencumbered funds and approved contracts worth $7.0 billion that are unfunded.

The Government of Iraq procures food and basic medical supplies in bulk and is responsible for their distribution in the 15 central and southern governorates, and to UN warehouses in the northern cities of Kirkuk and Mosul. The World Food Programme (WFP) is responsible for food distribution on behalf of the Government of Iraq in the three northern governorates through a chain of some 11,000 food agents (corner stores). Government distribution of food, by the Ministry of Trade, in the centre and south is through some 44,358 food agents (corner stores).

Improvements to infrastructure in the food sector have included the installation of cleaning, handling and fumigation equipment in grain silos to reduce storage and handling losses. The maintenance and repair of mills and the installation of generators has improved the reliability of flour milling operations. This in turn has improved production capacity and the quality of flour available to the national food basket from more than 140 mills.

The size of the food basket has increased during successive phases of the Oil-for-Food Programme over the past six years, together with an upward trend in the caloric and protein value of the basket. By September 1998, the food basket had met its targeted level of 2200 kcal/person/day; and in May 2002, the Programme achieved 91 per cent of the targeted 2,475 kcals.

In January 2002, WFP embarked on a large-scale population verification exercise in the three northern governorates to further strengthen the equitability and accuracy of the distribution process.

A supplementary feeding project assists the most vulnerable members of the population with a monthly food basket that targets the specific needs of malnourished children, pregnant and lactating women, hospital in-patients, residents in social institutions and children in nurseries. These are groups not normally reached by the general food ration provided under Security Council resolution 986.

Other projects address household food security. Small ruminant livestock are provided to around 10,000 beneficiaries, mostly female-headed households. A beekeeping project targets another 150. These projects further empower women through literacy and technical skills training as well as by providing them with a source of lasting income.

The Programme has provided skills training for women in 10,200 female-headed households. A Women Skills Enhancement project has benefitted 2,000 women.

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