CARACAS - The Executive Director of the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), David Beasley, concluded a two-day visit to Venezuela where he met President Nicolas Maduro and consolidated the expansion of the WFP’s footprint in the country to reach 1 million children in 2023.

“WFP is grateful to all parties for bringing opportunities to the Venezuelan children. We can and will do much more for the people of Venezuela”, Executive Director David Beasley said. By 2023, WFP will expand the coverage of the school meals programme in the country and include development and resilience work.

As part of the agenda in Venezuela, the Executive Director visited the Araya peninsula, in Sucre state, where WFP has been providing school meals since July 2022. He met teachers, families and students during a food distribution in two schools as well as with local authorities.

“People in Araya told me that our school meals program has made a big difference to their lives. They can stretch their incomes further to cover other daily essentials knowing that their children are guaranteed a healthy meal each day in school”

WFP commenced its operations in Venezuela in April 2021 with the signing of a memorandum of understanding with the Government. The current programme is already benefitting over 430,000 children through food rations delivered to school children and their families in eight states. The programme is also improving school kitchens so that nutritious school meals can be cooked on premises. WFP will expand this operation in the coming months, to reach a total of one million people in 16 states.

In addition, WFP has been distributing food to 20,000 people affected by the recent heavy rains and floods in four Venezuelan states. The organization's response to the emergency includes the donation of mobile storage units and support to canteens in the most impacted areas.

WFP needs US$190 million to reach at least 1 million people in Venezuela in 2023.

“We are focused on raising the funds needed to expand this vital lifeline to more Venezuelan families in the months ahead.”