Palestinian 'food insecurity' cause for concern: U.N.

Palestinians smoke nargila in the southern Gaza Strip June 20, 2013. REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa

JERICHO, Palestinian Territories: Food insecurity is on the rise in the West Bank and is jeopardising stability, the head of the U.N.'s World Food Programme said on a visit to the Palestinian territory on Friday.

"High food prices and low wages mean that 1.6 million Palestinians don't know from where their next meal is coming," WFP director Ertharin Cousin told reporters in the West Bank city of Jericho.

"Food security is a vital component for sustained peace across the region," she said.

Cousin and Filippo Grandi, head of the U.N. Palestinian refugee agency UNRWA, also visited a Bedouin village east of Jerusalem. There they signed a memorandum of understanding to "deepen and expand ties between the two agencies," a statement said.

According to the statement, there was a sharp rise in food insecurity among Palestinians from 2011 to 2012, according to the preliminary results of a U.N. survey.

Some 34 percent of households in the Palestinian territories were food insecure last year, up from 27 percent in 2011, it said.





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