Cuba urgently asks for food aid to the UN for first time

The availability of state-sourced milk has deteriorated in recent months. Some provinces have cut the prioritized population or reduced the quantities delivered, while others have begun to distribute vitamin drinks as a substitute.

For the first time, the Cuban regime requested help from the World Food Program (WFP) due to “difficulties in distributing subsidized milk to children under 7 years of age,” he says.

The executive management of this arm of the United Nations, which defines itself as “the largest humanitarian organization in the world”, received an official communication from the Government of Cuba and is already sending powdered milk to the island.

“We confirm that the World Food Program (WFP) has received an official communication from the (Cuban) Government requesting support to continue the monthly delivery of 1 kilogram of milk for girls and boys under 7 years of age throughout the country,” he indicated. written by the WFP delegation on the island.

The UN program, which recognizes an “urgent need,” stressed “the importance of this request,” especially in the context of the “deep economic crisis facing Cuba,” something that in its opinion is having a “significant impact on food security.” and nutritional status of the population”.

The Government had not made public this request or the first multilateral contributions, despite the fact that it has been talking about the milk shortage for weeks. EFE requested an official clarification, but has not received a response so far.

The organization, specialized in “emergencies” and “food assistance,” confirmed that “this is the first time that Cuba has requested support by issuing an official communication to the highest level of management of the WFP,” although it has had projects on the island for some time.

As confirmed by EFE from two sources familiar with the request, the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Foreign Investment (Mincex) sent the letter to the executive management of the WFP in Rome at the end of last year.

As a result of that letter, the WFP indicated that this February it managed to deliver “144 metric tons of skimmed milk powder”, benefiting almost 48,000 girls and boys between 7 months and 3 years old in Pinar del Río and Havana. This represents only 6% of the minors to whom the Government intends to provide subsidized milk.

Furthermore, according to the WFP, the Cuban request “does not refer to any explicit time frame” – that is, it does not ask for support for a limited period of time – so the multilateral organization is seeking to “mobilize additional resources” from “traditional and non-traditional donors.” traditional”.

EFE was able to confirm that at least two countries, one European and one American, have been contacted by the WFP. Both are analyzing their possibilities and have not made a decision.

Milk has been in short supply for years in Cuba, although in general children up to 7 years old (and people with special diets) could count on an amount per month through the supply book (ration card) at a highly subsidized price ( 2.5 pesos per kilogram, about 21 cents).

The availability of state-sourced milk, however, has deteriorated in recent months. Some provinces have cut the prioritized population or reduced the quantities delivered, while others have begun to distribute vitamin drinks as a substitute. Faced with these difficulties, in Cuba it is possible to find liquid and powdered milk in some of the companies in the emerging private sector, but at prices that are inaccessible to the vast majority of Cubans.

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