UN Seeks Food Aid for Armenia

GENEVA (Reuter)–The United Nations food agency appealed on Friday for $13 million in emergency food aid for Armenia and Georgia–where its "dangerously low" stocks will run out in the next two months.

The World Food Program (WFP) said it was also asking donor countries to give $2.7 million in food aid for displaced persons in Azerbaijan–where supplies should last until early 1998.

The three Transcaucasian republics–where 1.5 million refugees and internally displaced people have been uprooted by territorial conflicts–are suffering from a severe economic crisis–according to the WFP.

The $15.7 million appeal will buy 34,000 tons of food for 600,000 displaced people who are deemed most vulnerable.

"We want to sound the alarm particularly about Armenia where our food stocks will run out by the end of the month," WFP spokeswoman Christiane Berthiaume told a news briefing.

Some 220,000 Armenia’s will benefit from the appeal–launched in Geneva by the Rome-based agency.

About 157,000 people who lost their homes in a devastating earthquake in 1988 still live in temporary shelters.

"The outlook for the 1997 crop is poor due to floods and hail in late spring," WFP said–adding that bread prices in Armenia had risen 34 times between late 1994 and May 1997.

In Georgia–where WFP is feeding 170,000 people–its food supplies will run out in mid-October.

Although there are a large number of refugees in the Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh–international organizations have yet to begin directed humanitarian aid to the Armenian populated area.

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