The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) today welcomed Greece’s donation of $471,000 to the agency’s relief operation helping hundreds of thousands of victims of a much-overlooked conflict in the West African State of Guinea-Bissau. “This donation gives a bright start to the new year for thousands of poor people in this country,” said Jose Pita-Gros, WFP Country Director in Guinea-Bissau. “A donation in cash means food can be purchased quickly and arrive sooner.” One of the 10 poorest countries in the world, Guinea-Bissau was devastated by a bitter civil war in the late 1990s in which thousands were killed, wounded or forced from their homes. Many people there continue to rely almost entirely on foreign aid to survive. The Greek donation is the first to WFP’s new $12.1 million relief operation in Guinea-Bissau, which aims to provide over 15,000 metric tons of food to some 382,000 people, including young children at risk of malnutrition, pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers, as well as school children and poor families unable to meet their daily food requirements. Greece is becoming an increasingly important donor to WFP, significantly stepping up its contributions in the last year. In 2005 alone, Greek contributions to WFP operations around the world amounted to $3.6 million, the agency said. “We hope that this humanitarian gesture will pave the way for others to dig into their pockets in support of Guinea-Bissau,” said Mr. Pita-Gros.