Why Congress Must Support Emergency Funding for International Food Assistance 

Photo: WFP/Kabir Dhanji/2023
World Food Program USA
Published September 8, 2023

As Congress considers emergency supplemental appropriations, World Food Program USA is urging members to prioritize robust funding to address the dire global hunger crisis driven in part by the war in Ukraine. While this conflict continues, humanitarian needs in Ukraine and other countries around the world are outpacing funding levels.

A family receives WFP food assistance in Kenya
Photo: WFP/Kabir Dhanji/2023

The world is hungrier than ever. Families need emergency food assistance now.

Hunger in Ukraine Is Rising

Within Ukraine, millions of people face hunger and displacement.  They are in urgent need of food assistance, safe drinking water, healthcare and safety. The destruction of the Kakhovka Dam and its resulting depletion of the Kakhovka Reservoir in June this year was a particularly grim development as tens of thousands of people immediately lost access to shelter, their livelihoods, healthcare and clean water. Thousands of people were displaced. Large agricultural regions remain indefinitely without a source of water, further threatening food production in the Ukrainian “breadbasket.”

Photo: WFP/Antione Valles

The war has devastated Ukraine’s agriculture and food production, threatening its capacity to feed itself and much of the world.

The War’s Global Ramifications: Rising Global Hunger and Instability

The events in Ukraine are having an outsized impact on global food insecurity and malnutrition. The crisis continues to disrupt grain production and shipments that feed the world. The recent suspension of the Black Sea Grain Initiative threatens to further increase hunger and global instability. These impacts of the conflict are contributing heavily to rising food, fuel and fertilizer costs. The result is one of the greatest global hunger crises in generations.

Even before the conflict in Ukraine, decades of progress on global hunger and malnutrition were undone due to the compounding effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, conflict and climate shocks. Now, the crisis in Ukraine is serving as a “hunger multiplier.”  345 million people are facing severe hunger. This global food hunger and malnutrition crisis is hitting women and children the hardest. Today, 45 million children under five are severely hungry, and 60% of the world’s hungriest people are women and girls.

A young child is checked for malnutrition in Yemen
Photo: WFP/Mehedi Rahman/2023

Acute hunger and malnutrition have increased across most countries where WFP operates.

Urgent Action Is Needed

These staggering needs come at a time when there is great uncertainty about the level of funding for vital humanitarian and development programs in the FY24 appropriations process.

The emergency supplemental funding is urgently needed to address the worsening crisis in Ukraine and its global impact, now and in the years to come. We urge Congress to consider the new Ukraine supplemental funding bill, which has robust support for international humanitarian assistance including food and nutrition assistance as well as agricultural resilience programs, as quickly as possible.

Send a Letter to Congress

Your action is urgently needed! Right now, Congress is considering emergency funding to tackle the growing global hunger crisis. Please ask your Members of Congress to support this crucial request for international food assistance today.

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