Italy backs $5 million food aid package to Burma

May 29, 2009 (DVB), The families of fishermen affected by Burma's cyclone Nargis last year will be the recipients of a multi-million dollar food aid programme organized by the Italian government and the United Nations.

The programme will target 32,000 fishing and farming families in the Irrawaddy delta area where the cyclone struck last May, killing 140,000 people.

Over one million acres of farmland were inundated with salt water, while many families' farming and fishing equipment was destroyed.

The Italian government has sponsored the initiative, which is being managed by the UN's Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO).

The Rome-based organisation has said that assistance will be given in the development of sustainable, small-scale fisheries and the improvement of rice production.

In addition, the FAO hopes that new employment will be generated.

"The 32,000 families would join the 112,000 households whom FAO helped between June 2008 and May 2009, as part of its $US17 million cyclone Nargis assistance project, and hundreds of thousands of other families in various parts of [Burma] that FAO is working with and has worked with during its 30 years in this country," said Shin Imao, FAO’s representative in Burma.

Reporting by Francis Wade

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