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U.S. Navy Delivers 130,000 Meals to Togo Flood Victims
The crew of high speed vessel Swift delivered 23 pallets of humanitarian items, including 130,000 meals, January 29 to Togolese still suffering from last year's floods, on behalf of Africa Partnership Station and the Navy's Project
The crew of high speed vessel Swift delivered 23 pallets of humanitarian items, including 130,000 meals, January 29 to Togolese still suffering from last year's floods, on behalf of Africa Partnership Station and the Navy's Project Handclasp, which transports humanitarian aid donated by private U.S. citizens and relief groups.

"These gifts come at a good time given the nutritional situation which exists and will be a contribution which all of our partners can use to help the government in its efforts to redress the problems," said Una McCauley, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) country representative in Togo. "I would like to thank the U.S. Navy on behalf of all the Togolese children in the areas where this food will be sent without delay."

According to news reports, more than 20,000 were left homeless during the August - September 2007 floods in the extreme north of Togo, an area that has long suffered from chronic food shortages.

Project Handclasp is a U.S. Navy program that coordinates the transport of donations of medical supplies, toys, food items, and other humanitarian goods provided by organizations and individuals in the United States to those in need around the world.

The donation was marked by a ceremony that included the participation of U.S. Ambassador to Togo, David B. Dunn, and consisted of 18,000 packages of a rice food product that will provide 107,000 meals, and 40 large bags of a vegetable protein product that serves as an alternate protein source for as many as 23,000 meals.

UNICEF will work with non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Togo to distribute the food, according to Navy Lieutenant Commander Chuck Bell, a civil affairs planner from Maritime Civil Affairs Squadron 2, and the NGO activities coordinator for APS. "This type of cooperative effort between a visiting ship, the U.S. Embassy, UNICEF, and NGOs on the ground is a strong example of how Africa Partnership Station can bring diverse organizations together to address common concerns."

In addition to nutritional supplies, medical supplies were donated to Be Hospital in Lome. Also, a manual sewing workshop was given to La Conscience, an NGO which uses its programs to teach trades to the young.

Volunteers from APS also visited Centre d'Accueil, an orphanage, to deliver toys and meet some of the children benefiting from Project Handclasp.

"It's gratifying for the crew of Swift to be here as part of APS and to make a small contribution to the very important humanitarian efforts of organizations such as UNICEF and our other Project Handclasp partners in Togo," Swift Commanding Officer, Commander Charles Rock said.
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