At long last, the National Steering Committee for the COVID-19 food distribution program, started smoothly as planned.
The committee had earlier said that it would not be able to meet up with the May 23 date set for the commencement of the distribution.
However, following the intervention of President George Weah to solve the technical hurdles the committee was faced with, the distribution started on good footing last Saturday, May 23, 2020.
The distribution team is headed by Commerce Minister, Professor Wilson Tarpeh who was accompanied by officials from the World Food Program (the main entity for the distribution) and other agencies and groups. The team distributed food to ten vulnerable institutions.
Those beneficiaries were Christ Our Hope Orphanage home, Doma Farm community, Rock of Devine Orphanage and Academy, Frances Gaskin Rescue Home for Children, GSA community, Children Relief Ministry, Duport Road Market and Margaret Gierath-Nemene Foundation.
Some of them were, Love and Child Orphanage Home, RIA Community and Christian Association of the Blind (CAB), Duazon, and Robert International Airport Road.
Dozens of jubilant crowds sang and dance when the convoy arrived at their respective locations.
“We than you oh Gbekugbeh (referring to president Weah). Thank you president Weah. God will bless you.”
Speaking to the media on Saturday, professor Tarpeh said the commencement of the exercise was difficult but with the support of his team, he was happy for it to start on good footing.
“With the support of our partners, the WFP, the Christian Community, The Muslim and the greatest support from the president, this process will see the distribution of food throughout the country,” he said.
He said, the initial amount for the distribution of the food and assorted items of US$25m, which the Liberian government provided, could not complete the entire work. As a result of that, US$5M was provided by the World Bank.
Also speaking to the media, the minister of Agriculture, Madam Jeanine Cooper who co-chairs the committee said the distribution would move outside of Monrovia soon. “This is a gradual process.” According to her, the distribution in Montserrado and Margibi counties is expected to last for about a week.
“The entire distribution will last for about 60 to 70 days. This is so because there are lots of communities and you cannot just throw the rice out there and say we have fed the people.”
According to her, a total of five hundred thousand people are expected to benefit from the entire exercise in the country, in those affected areas. TNR