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UN food agencies offer support to China amid coronavirus outbreak,February 06, 2020 Adjust font size:

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the World Food Programme (WFP) have jointly expressed solidarity with China and offered support to the country as it battles against the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak.

In a joint letter to President Xi Jinping, the heads of the three agencies - FAO Director-General Qu Dongyu, President of IFAD Gilbert Houngbo, and WFP Executive Director David Beasley - paid tribute to the resilience of the Chinese people and praised the efforts made by the country dealing with the emergency. 

Describing the outbreak as a "health challenge for China and the rest of the world," the three Rome-based agencies pledged readiness to provide support, based on their respective areas of expertise, to China's efforts to alleviate the impact of the virus on the population, particularly in rural areas.

"In an emergency like the current novel corona virus outbreak, the most vulnerable countries often suffer the most, in lost lives and livelihoods," said Qu. "FAO's Hand-in-Hand Initiative focuses on building strong partnerships bringing together donors and recipients and prioritizes assistance to the most vulnerable. This will also enable them to strengthen their resilience in the face of emergencies like this."

"Building on the 40-year strategic partnership with China to reduce poverty and promote rural development, IFAD will continue to support an inclusive rural transformation by continuing to create economic opportunities for rural families and businesses, especially for those who might be impacted," Houngbo said.

"WFP has been following events closely and we are poised to deploy our expertise in global logistics and other areas as required," said Beasley. "We stand fully behind all countries affected by this outbreak, and particularly those which might need additional support in confronting this growing health threat," he added.