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AbstractSince December 1989, Liberia and Sierra Leone have been affected by destructive wars and civil strife pushing some 1,100,000 persons to seek refuge in Guinea, Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana. Approximately one million have been internally displaced in both countries. The conflicts have claimed the lives of more than 150,000 people in Liberia and an unknown number in Sierra Leone. Houses, roads, and social and economic infrastructure have been destroyed and most people have been deprived of their livelihoods. Although Liberia and Sierra Leone have suffered the most from the internal conflicts, Guinea, Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana have been affected since they have had to provide shelter in towns and camps to the refugee population, which has strained local resources. WFP has been providing assistance to the neediest refugee and internally displaced populations in the region under a series of emergency (EMOP) and protracted relief operations (PRO) since 1990. Some 1,960,000 beneficiaries are being assisted under ongoing operations (PRO LIR 4604.06, PRO SIL 5802.00, EMOP GUI 6032.00). An 8 percent increase in the total number of beneficiaries is proposed under this protracted relief and recovery operation (PRRO). Currently, the security situation ranges from a fair degree of stability and relative calm over a sustained period in Liberia, to a relapse into fully-fledged emergency in Sierra Leone. The proposed PRRO seeks to promote opportunities for assisting Liberia and Sierra Leone in their transition from emergency to recovery, rebuilding civil society and ensuring longer-term development. Such opportunities exist in Liberia and in the other countries in the region and in some areas of Sierra Leone. The PRRO also provides for emergency relief in the conflict areas, where the resumption of normal life is not likely in the short term. Relief food aid therefore remains necessary for sustaining the nutritional recovery and resettlement of new refugees and internally displaced persons, as well as for some beneficiary groups whose coping mechanisms have not yet been restored. Food aid will be an important instrument in supporting rehabilitation and recovery activities through food for work and food for training to rebuild infrastructure and improve agricultural production and household food security. Women, who account for an average of 60 to 70 percent of the overall beneficiary number, will be targeted specifically in household food security and training-related activities. Food aid is also expected to make an important contribution to the stabilization of Liberia and Sierra Leone as it lays the ground for longer-term development. Long-term impact will be achieved through an emphasis on the active participation of beneficiaries in decision-making and implementation processes; capacity-building will be an important feature. A regional approach has been chosen for the implementation of this PRRO. Maintaining this regional approach during current operations has been the most powerful factor for WFP’s effectiveness in the region. It has provided the essential flexibility for cross-border operations, resourcing and pipeline management, as well as swift reallocation of commodities between countries in response to constantly changing situations.