Maryland County – The government of Liberia and the World Food Programme has begun the long-awaited coronavirus “stimulus package” in Harper district. The process started on January 4, as many beneficiaries were seen taking home their package which include rice, beans and vegetable oil.
In March 2020, the Government launched the COHFSP to support communities greatly affected by the coronavirus pandemic in Liberia although the process have faced some challenges due to logistical constraints, according to the Steering Committee that also includes the WFP Country Office.
“The COHFSP implementation had experienced delays in the beneficiary registration process approved by the COHFSP Steering Committee, which were largely attributable to documented challenges with identification and verification of the most vulnerable households,” the Committee stated in its recent report.
In Maryland County, the COHFSP is being implemented by Catholic NGO, Caritas Cape Palmas based in Harper City.
Speaking to LocalVoicesLiberia at the start of the distribution on January 4 at the Harper City Hall, the Program Officer of Caritas Cape Palmas, Mr. Waidi Bobo said qualified household in the County received two bags of 25 kg rice, one gallon of oil, and 10 kg of beans.
He also mentioned that 25,952 households have been enumerated in the four districts of the county — Harper, Pleebo sodoken, Karluway and Barrobo.
“I would like to inform those that do not receive food items in the county that this is not a pick and choose but it is based on the questions you answer during the recruitment [enumeration],” Mr: Bobo explained, adding that the process will be fair.
Meanwhile, some beneficiaries have lauded the government and partners for the “long-awaited stimulus package”.
“We are extremely happy for the food support given us from the national government of Liberia; let God protection lead the government most specially to his Excellency Dr. George W.eah who through his good will we are receiving food items in this difficult time,” said Prince Wako, a resident of City Hall community.
Another beneficiary, Nyemade Davis extended “sincere thanks and appreciation to President Weah for fulfilling his promise”.
“Let God bless you and all those working with you in this government as we entered this year 2021,” she said.
Added Orathe N. Nyepan, a mother of six children: “I thought this government wanted to play a game with us when they promised us that they will provide food package to us. But we are now happy.” She said the food will go a long way in her home as she strives to feed her children daily.
The distribution starts less than a month after many residents of Harper city, who participated in the enumeration of households by Liberia Geo-Information and Statics , complained that the wait for the food package was becoming unbearable.
But the Government and the WFP had said that the delay was due to logistical and bad road constraints in transporting the food to the region. However, the Government assured that the distribution will go ahead despite the delay.
The commitment from the Government and the UN agency came after LocalVoicesLiberia had gathered that the vessel that was transporting the food commodities arrived beyond schedule. The 1,080 metric tons of food was due to arrive in Harper city on December 22 but later arrived on December 29.