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Month-long food distribution begins

The Rwandan government has begun a month-long food distribution to 7,000 families in the central Rwandan drought-stricken district of Gashora, in Bugesera region.

In its emergency report released on Friday, the UN World Food Programme (WFP) reported that distribution had started in three sectors of Gashora, under a US $130,000 government aid package. The families targeted receive a month's ration of 60 kg of maize and 18 kg of pulses.

"The month-long assistance, led by community development centres, complements WFP's on-going food assistance distributed under FFW [Food-for-Work], school feed and supplementary feeding activities," WFP reported.

At the same time, WFP reported that it was working with the Ministry of Agriculture, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the USAID-funded Famine Early Warning System Network (FEWS NET) on the final report for a crop harvest assessment mission that took place from 16 to 27 December 2003 in various parts of the country.

"Preliminary findings indicate that the affected regions are likely to continue facing serious food shortage until the harvest of June 2004 as the harvest of January 2004 in this area is expected to be poor," WFP reported.

It said further action would be taken in light of the findings and recommendations of the report, expected to be ready by mid-January.

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