Food Aid Hits 20-Year Low As Number Of ‘Critically Hungry’ People Increases, WFP Says
Global food aid is at a 20-year lowÂ even thoughÂ the number of “critically hungry people” is expectedÂ to reach the highest level ever, the U.N. World Food Programme (WFP) said on Wednesday, Reuters reports (9/16).
At a press conference, Josette Sheeran, executive director of WFP, said that for the first time in history, the number of hungry people wouldÂ rise toÂ 1.02 billion this year, according toÂ dataÂ from theÂ U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization.Â WFP is facing a significant budget shortfall, Sheeran said, as it seeks toÂ feed 108 million people in 2009, Bernama reports, adding that theÂ ”shortage means ration reductions and cuts in programs that provide a lifeline to the world’s hungriest people” (9/17).Â
“WFP says it needs $6.67 billionÂ in funds to help people around the world cope withÂ rising food prices, droughts and conflicts, but it has only received $2.6 billionÂ so far,” Al Jazeera writes in an articleÂ that includes a video interview with SheeranÂ about the global hunger crisis (Serra, 9/16).
In a press release, Sheeran said, “The double whammy of the financial crisis and the still record high food prices around the world is delivering a devastating blow. Throw in a storm, a drought and a conflict and you have a recipe for disaster.” She said the additional $3 billion needed represents “less than 0.01 percent of what was put on the table to stabilise the world financially.”Â AtÂ current funding levels,Â WFP willÂ have to cutÂ services in October, she said, citing Bangladesh, Kenya and Somalia as examples of where programs would have to be scaled back (9/16).
Several other media outlets reported on storiesÂ related to food security, hunger and malnutrition: