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COVID-19 food distribution to delay few weeks

-Prof. Wilson Tarpeh

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The Steering Committee of the COVID-19 Household Food Support Programme (COHFSP) has announced a delay in the distribution of food commodities for a few weeks due to several issues beyond the control of the Steering Committee. The Committee had earlier set 23 May 2020 as the commencement date of the distribution.

The Chairman of the of the COVID-19 Food Support Program Steering Committee, Prof. Wilson Tarpeh, however, remain optimistic that the targeted food distribution to COVID-affected households will begin as soon as budgetary and financial procedures are completed.

Mr. Tarpeh in a press release made it clear that the food assistance programme won’t be rolled out by 23 May as initially planned, primarily because the budget confirmation process by the Liberia Legislature requires careful, consultative, and legal ramifications that cannot be done within a day or two.

Furthermore, even if the budget is approved by the Legislature, the Government is under obligation to await the approval decision of the budget by the IMF’s Executive Board whose meeting is scheduled for 2 June 2020. The transfer of funds would then take a few more days to reach the Central Bank of Liberia and made accessible to fund the food assistance operation.

Prof, Tarpeh, is now making a passionate plead to all Liberians to continue to exercise patience and be supportive of the process to defeat COVID-19, as the government is very much committed to meeting both the health and social protection objectives of the pandemic.

Meanwhile, what would happen during the food distribution?Health services will attend to each community prior to the COHFSP to conduct contact tracing, testing and provide support to those that are ill.This health exercise will take 5-7 days depending on the size of the community.

Following the health pillar above-mentioned intervention, vulnerable communities will receive one month food ration and the Government will call for a total lockdown of that community for 14 days. COHFSP will only target the poorest and most food insecure households affected by COVID-19. Community Leaders will work with LISGIS on the registration of households.
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