The UN World Food Programme (WFP) has begun the distribution of cash and food to vulnerable people in Abuja.
The initiative, in partnership with the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, was to cushion the COVID-19 effect on the residents.
Dr Paul Howe, WFP representative in Nigeria, on Friday, commended the Federal Government for providing food from the National Strategic Grains Reserve.
He added that the one million dollars contribution would be shared among the vulnerable people in urban hotspots in Abuja, Lagos and Kano.
According to him, assistance will be given in three Area Councils of Abuja Municipal, Bwari and Gwagwalada.
“We want to acknowledge also the contribution of the Government of Switzerland, which is our key contributor to the funding of this project.”
He said that the Nigerian Government is providing cereal food support, adding that “Switzerland’s assistance via cash transfer to the beneficiaries is complementing Government’s efforts.”
Howe said that WFP planned to reach 67,500 beneficiaries in Abuja under this intervention programme, adding that WFP had already reached over 57,000 individuals.
“COVID-19 has grown beyond a global health crisis into a global ‘food pandemic’ of historical proportions.
“Over 90 million people with 46 per cent of the population in Nigeria live on less than US$2 per day, the urban poor depending on daily wages have been very hard hit.
“In communities in Kano, Abuja and Lagos; the socio-economic impact of COVID-19 has hit hard,” he said.
He stated that WFP is supporting the Government in assisting up to 200,000 people through a combination of cash-based transfers and food distributions.
He said that it was the first time WFP is expanding into urban centres in Nigeria to serve people and families affected by hunger and severe food insecurity.