According to an initiative by the UN's World Food Programme called the School Feeding Programme, date bars are distributed in the schools of Yemen. The initiative began last year. However, it is unfortunate that some students received rotten date bars.
The UN’s food assistance agency started distributing date bars since last year to the students in Taiz’s schools. According to the officials, the initiative was welcomed by the students, teachers and guardians. However, the school authorities are well aware that sometimes students are fed with rotten date bars. The School Principal Mohammed Aidarous told international media that, they are well aware that there are rotten date bars and asked the students to not eat them. He further added that it is not possible to figure out if they are rotten or not until the packet is opened. According to the WFP, currently they have distributed date bars in more than 1,500 schools for 665,000. The organization has a target to feed 1.2 million children in
The parents of the students are angry and have asked the school authorities to ask for investigation. The school principal confirmed that they were supplied with rotten dates even last year. But when the WFP was informed, their team withdrew the rotten date bars, but this year there was no response from them. The parents feel that school should be the safest place for their kids but instead, they are being served with rotten and foul-smelling date bars. Aidarous said that he accepted the cartons of date bars only after checking their expiry date was January 2020, but some date bars were rotten before expiry. Therefore, he informed the education office in Taiz and called a UN agency for investigation.
The WFP informed the global media that they immediately stopped the School Feeding Programme and called for an investigation. The spokesperson of WFP reported that according to their findings the problem was with the packaging of the date bars and said that WFP is taking back all the date bars and a fresh stock will soon be dispatched from different manufacturing branches. According to the doctors, the rotten date bars can have negative effects on the health of the students. This is not the first time, earlier the people of Yemen received rotten flour and they demanded WFP to take it back.
(With inputs from agencies)