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UN Launches Food Program for Displaced Iraqis

FILE - Displaced Syrians collect rations provided by the World Food Program in front of a distribution center in Damascus, Oct. 19, 2014.

The U.N. World Food Program has begun distributing food vouchers to Iraqis displaced by war.

The WFP gave out the first vouchers in Erbil to about 500 Iraqis last week.

WFP officials say the voucher program is critical for those displaced by the conflict, giving them the "power of choice" in their daily lives.

The vouchers will help displaced families who have relocated to safer areas but lack the means to buy food.

The WFP plans to distribute food vouchers to 500,000 Iraqis who have fled the Kurdistan region. It has been running a similar program for Syrian refugees in Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey.

Japan donated $5 million for the program, and Germany gave $2.2 million.

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