- National

Russia Helps Bridge Food Gaps in three Provinces of Laos

Fortified cooking oil from Russia supports the World Food Programme (WFP) in targeting vulnerable communities. The oil will be distributed as part of a food basket to 78,000 people in Savannakhet, Xayaboury and Phongsaly to counteract food shortages and support food and nutrition security.

“The Russian Federation continues to focus on humanitarian and disaster relief in the Lao PDR,” said Russian Ambassador to Laos Vladimir Kalinin.

“Since the devastating floods of 2018, we have found that our cooperation with WFP ensures our investments reach those most in need. WFP’s expertise in beneficiary targeting and distribution is especially valuable in times of COVID-19, where circumstances change quickly.”

WFP will use the contribution – 118 metric tonnes of fortified cooking oil, worth around USD 466,000 – in two ways: for emergency distributions and resilience building.

Communities ravaged by recent floods in Savannakhet and Xayaboury Provinces will receive emergency distributions, to bridge their immediate food insecurity. Additionally, the Russian oil will form part of a food basket, also containing rice and canned fish, in support of the food needs of about 31,500 people in Phongsaly and Savannakhet who are participating in community asset building projects.

By constructing fishponds, rehabilitating damaged agricultural infrastructure and roads and improving drainage, communities will have a better chance at good harvests and becoming more resilient against climate-related risks. The remainder of the Russian contribution will be used as a reserve for emergency distributions in 2022. In total, 78,000 people will be reached.

“WFP’s vulnerability mapping tool ensures that we continuously adjust and direct our programmes to the most vulnerable people,” said WFP Country Director and Representative Jan Delbaere. “We rely on the generosity of donors like the Government of Russia to assist these communities, thereby working towards WFP’s global target of Zero Hunger by 2030.”

Laos is particularly vulnerable to climate change due to a high dependence on natural resources and low capacity to adapt to its impacts. Seasonal flooding as well as droughts add to the distress communities experience due to COVID-19.

Source: Lao News Agency