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US announces $40m in food aid for Bangladesh PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 05 May 2008

The United States has donated $40 million in food aid to Bangladesh, which the lender believes will help enhance democracy and development and deny space to terrorists.

"The United States is donating an additional $40 million worth of food aid to Bangladesh," US ambassador to Bangladesh James F Moriarty told reporters at a press conference at the American Club Sunday.

Of the total, $30 million will be used for a feeding programme for 350,000 schoolchildren in three years. The rest $10 million in emergency food aid will be allocated to the victims of the Nov 15 cyclone Sidr.

"This assistance will help us adavnce 3Ds—democracy, development and denial of space to terrorists," Moriarty said. "There is $30 million to be distributed over a three-year period that targets schoolchildren throughout the country via a school feeding programme," he said.

"The primary beneficiaries of the new $10 million emergency food aid will be those still struggling to recover from the devastating effects of cyclone Sidr," he said.

Moriarty read out a written statement on the food aid and left the venue authorising USAID's mission director Denise Rollins to take questions from reporters.

Rollins said the $40 million aid was part of $2.1 billion announced by US President George Bush in humanitarian assistance. "Humanitarian assistance and the development assistance are interrelated," Rollins in reply to a question whether it was humanitarian aid or assistance on the condition of implementing 3Ds.

"All parts we are trying to encourage democracy, build a democratic space so that you can have a free, fair and fully participatory election."

"As the ambassador mentioned about denying space to terrorists, if people are hungry they might tend to be more vulnerable to different elements of the society," she said.

Rollins attributed the global price hike of food grains to the increased population of India and China. She said the US policy of producing biofuels from the edible grains was "part" of the reason for price hikes. "There is no shortage of foods in Bangladesh.

The problem is accessibility," Rollins said. She made it clear that a greater portion of the food aid would be channelled through government agencies.

For school feeding programmes, high-protein biscuits would be distributed among school children. The USAID is one of the leading food aid agencies.

The agency provided $5 billion in assistance since 1972, according to the USAID. It said it donated food aid worth $2.5 billion since Bangladesh's independence.

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