Our hearts go out to families impacted by the devastating 5.9 magnitude earthquake that struck South-West of Khost, Afghanistan near the border with Pakistan on June 22. We are deeply saddened by the devastation and loss. World Food Program USA is working to support the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP)’s emergency response. U.N. World Food Programme teams rapidly mobilized to provide emergency support, deploying 18 trucks to the earthquake-affected areas carrying emergency supplies, including High Energy Biscuits (HEB) and mobile storage units. The U.N. World Food Programme plans to provide emergency food to an initial 3,000 households and is ready to ramp up its support pending results of ongoing post-disaster assessments. The U.N. World Food Programme – together with humanitarian partners – has been assessing earthquake damage and the needs of families on the ground. The remote districts of Giyan and Barmal in the Paktika province and Spera in the Khost province are among the areas worst hit. In Barmal, more than 70% of homes were completely destroyed. At least 1,000 people have reportedly been killed and 2,000 others injured. However, rescue efforts have been hampered by heavy rain and winds, as well as poor connectivity in affected areas.

The country is facing an unprecedented humanitarian crisis after decades of conflict, severe drought and a devastating economic crisis. This earthquake will only add to the already massive needs, including food insecurity for 19 million people. Operating in Afghanistan since 1963, the U.N. World Food Programme works in all 34 provinces and has a fleet of 239 trucks on the road every day, delivering food to some 800 distribution sites across the country. The U.N. World Food Programme has so far provided emergency food and nutrition assistance to 18 million people across Afghanistan this year, and in May we have assisted almost 320,000 people in Khost and more than 590,000 in Paktika provinces.

We stand committed to the people of Afghanistan and will do everything we can to reach vulnerable families in their time of great need. But we can’t do it without the support of donors. Please join us as we work to feed millions of vulnerable people.


Media Contact:
Abigail Seiler 
Senior Manager, Public Relations
World Food Program USA
443-843-4368 (cell)

COLOMBO – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) began distributing food vouchers to pregnant women in underserved districts of Colombo on June 16, marking the start of the U.N. World Food Programme’s emergency response in the country. The U.N. World Food Programme is working to provide lifesaving food, cash and voucher assistance to 3 million of the most vulnerable people who can no longer meet their food needs due to Sri Lanka’s unprecedented economic crisis.

The monthly vouchers are valued at $40 and will enable more than 2,000 women to buy food. The vouchers are delivered alongside prenatal care provided by the Public Health Division of the Colombo Municipal Council (CMC).

Food inflation in Colombo set a record high of 57.4% in May, and widespread shortages of fuel for cooking and transport mean families living in poverty are struggling to afford food. Nearly 5 million people, or 22% of the Sri Lankan population, are hungry and in need of assistance. Nutritious foods such as vegetables, fruits and protein-rich products are now out of reach for many low-income families. The U.N. World Food Programme’s recent surveys indicated 86% of families are resorting to at least one coping mechanism including eating less, eating less nutritious food and even skipping meals altogether.

“Pregnant mothers need to eat nutritious meals every day, but the poorest find it harder and harder to afford the basics. When they skip meals they’re putting their and their children’s health at risk,” said Anthea Webb, U.N. World Food Programme deputy regional director for Asia and the Pacific from Colombo.

“Poor families in cities and those who work on estates have seen their incomes plummet while market prices have soared. Each day that passes sees an increase in food and fuel prices globally, making it vital that we act now,” she noted.

The U.N. World Food Programme has long supported the Sri Lankan government’s national nutrition programs, but they are severely constrained by the economic crisis. To bolster existing social safety net programs, the U.N. World Food Programme’s emergency response program aims to assist:

  • 1 million children through the national school meal program
  • 1 million people participating in the Thriposha program, which provides nutritionally-fortified food to mothers and children
  • 1 million people in need of emergency food rations through food, cash or vouchers

The U.N. World Food Programme’s response is part of the Humanitarian Needs and Priorities Plan launched by the United Nations in Sri Lanka on June 9, which called for $47 million to provide lifesaving assistance to 1.7 million people through September. Given its concern that food and nutrition needs will persist beyond September, the U.N. World Food Programme estimates it will require $60 million to assist 3 million people from June through December 2022.

Existing donors to the U.N. World Food Programme’s Sri Lanka program include Australia, Canada, China, Denmark, Japan, Korea, Mastercard, Russia, Switzerland, United Nations Peacebuilding Fund and the United States.

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The United Nations World Food Programme is the world’s largest humanitarian organization, saving lives in emergencies and using food assistance to build a pathway to peace, stability and prosperity for people recovering from conflict, disasters and the impact of climate change.

Follow us on Twitter @WFPUSA, @wfp_media and @WFPSriLanka

Humanitarian assistance averted a catastrophe in the harsh winter months – but hunger continues across the country at unprecedented levels.

KABUL – 19.7 million people, almost half of Afghanistan’s population, are facing acute hunger according to the latest Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) analysis conducted in January and February 2022 by Food Security and Agriculture Cluster partners, including the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and many NGOs.

The report predicts that the outlook for June-November 2022 sees a slight improvement in the food security situation, with a reduction in the number of people facing acute food insecurity to 18.9 million people. This is due in part to the coming wheat harvest from May to August and this year’s well-coordinated scale-up of humanitarian food assistance – alongside increased agricultural livelihood support. However, the report warmed that gains will be limited. Lingering drought and the deep economic crisis mean unprecedented hunger will continue to threaten the lives and livelihoods of millions of people across Afghanistan.

Of particular concern – and for the first time since the introduction of the IPC in Afghanistan in 2011 – a small pocket of “catastrophic” levels of food insecurity (IPC Phase 5) has been detected in the country. More than 20,000 people in the northeastern province of Ghor are facing catastrophic levels of hunger because of a long period of harsh winter and disastrous agricultural conditions.

“Unprecedented levels of humanitarian assistance focused on bolstering food security have made a difference. But the food security situation is dire. Humanitarian assistance remains desperately important, as do the needs to rebuild shattered agricultural livelihoods and re-connect farmers and rural communities to struggling rural and urban markets across the country. Unless these happen, there will be no way out of this crisis,” said Richard Trenchard, FAO representative in Afghanistan.

“Food assistance and emergency livelihood support are the lifeline for the people of Afghanistan. We mounted the world’s largest humanitarian food operation in a matter of months, reaching more than 16 million people since August 2021,” said Mary-Ellen McGroarty, the U.N. World Food Programme’s country director and representative in Afghanistan.

“We are working with farmers, millers, and bakeries, training women and creating jobs to support the local economy. Because the people of Afghanistan would much prefer jobs, women want to be able to work, and all girls deserve to go to school. Allowing the economy to function normally is the surest way out of the crisis, otherwise suffering will grow where crops cannot,” she added.

The upcoming harvest will bring some relief to millions of families struggling with income losses and food shortages. However, for many, the harvest will only offer short-term relief and very little opportunity for recovery. The war in Ukraine continues to put pressure on Afghanistan’s wheat supply, food commodities, agricultural inputs and fuel prices. Access to seeds, fertilizer and water for irrigation is limited, labor opportunities are scarce and enormous debts have been incurred to buy food over the last few months.

Both FAO and the U.N. World Food Programme continue to scale up their programs across the country. The U.N. World Food Programme has reached more than 16 million people so far in 2022 with emergency food assistance and is supporting local markets – working with retailers and local suppliers. The U.N. World Food Programme continues to invest in people’s livelihoods through skills training and climate adaption projects so that families can cultivate their land and grow their own food.

FAO continues to scale up its assistance to farmers and herders in rural areas and will assist more than 9 million people in 2022 through a range of interventions supporting crop, livestock and vegetable production, cash transfers, and the rehabilitation of vital irrigation infrastructure and systems.

Supporting agriculture is a cost-effective and strategic intervention that delivers great short-term impact as lifesaving support, while paving the way for longer-term recovery and sustainable development.

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The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations that leads international efforts to defeat hunger. Our goal is to achieve food security for all and make sure that people have regular access to enough high-quality food to lead active, healthy lives.

Follow us on Twitter and Facebook @FAOnews, @FAOAfghanistan and @FAO

The United Nations World Food Programme is the world’s largest humanitarian organization, saving lives in emergencies and using food assistance to build a pathway to peace, stability and prosperity for people recovering from conflict, disasters and the impact of climate change.

Follow us on Twitter @WFPUSA, @wfp_media and @WFP_Afghanistan

COX’S BAZAR – The almost 1 million Rohingya refugees and their host community in Cox’s Bazar remain vulnerable and need continued support almost five years after they were forced to flee their homes for safety, according to the latest Refugee Influx Emergency Vulnerability Assessment conducted by the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and its partners.

The Rohingya’s extreme vulnerabilities are further exacerbated by large-scale hazards, including fires and floods that hit the camps in 2021. Almost all 900,000 refugees – 95% of them – remain entirely dependent on humanitarian assistance today. In the host community, where most families rely on daily-wage jobs, a slow economic recovery after COVID-19 lockdown measures has caused their vulnerability levels to increase, with 52% of the families considered moderately to highly vulnerable now compared to 41% in 2019.

“The Ukraine crisis is a stark reminder that no one chooses to be a refugee. In this year of unprecedented humanitarian need, we hope the international community won’t lose sight of the Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh, who are more vulnerable than ever and may be plunged further into destitution by the impact of food and fuel price hikes,” said Sheila Grudem, the U.N. World Food Programme senior emergency coordinator in Cox’s Bazar.

Access to food remains a top priority for both refugees and host communities, with 82% and 59% of families, respectively, reporting so. They are also worried about the continuation of food assistance. A growing number of families in both communities fall into debt to cover their most essential needs, such as food. This is particularly worrying as their ability to withstand any new shocks and stressors will be compromised.

In 2021, the U.N. World Food Programme continued to provide monthly cash-based food assistance to almost 900,000 Rohingya refugees in Cox’s Bazar and increased the number of fresh food corners available at its retail outlets in the camps. All refugees can now purchase fresh fruits and vegetables, live chicken and fish from the outlets using their monthly entitlements known as “e-vouchers.” This assistance also provides substantial economic opportunities for the host community, injecting $11 million into the local economy every month.

The U.N. World Food Programme also continued its cash assistance to host community families affected by the economic consequences of COVID-19, reaching 450,000 people in 2021. The U.N. World Food Programme directly provides economic opportunities year-round in the host community through cash-for-work programs as well as livelihoods grants and business skills trainings.

“In 2022, we count on the continued support of all donors to help us provide vital assistance to Rohingya families as well as their host community, who has demonstrated remarkable solidarity by welcoming them almost five years ago. Any drop in funding will directly threaten the food security of refugees and make the recovery of the communities more difficult,” Grudem added.

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The United Nations World Food Programme is the world’s largest humanitarian organization, saving lives in emergencies and using food assistance to build a pathway to peace, stability and prosperity for people recovering from conflict, disasters and the impact of climate change.

Follow us on Twitter @wfp_media and @WFPUSA

Follow us on Facebook @WFPinBangladesh

Grantees — all focused on elevating Afghan girls’ education — include Lamia Afghan Foundation, Razia’s Ray of Hope Foundation and School of Leadership Afghanistan.

WASHINGTON, DC (March 8, 2022)—World Food Program USA announces three new grantees for The Catherine Bertini Trust Fund for Girls’ Education: Lamia Afghan Foundation, Razia’s Ray of Hope Foundation and School of Leadership Afghanistan. With women and girls disproportionately impacted by hunger, the Bertini Fund works to empower them with the knowledge, training, and leadership skills necessary to achieve food security and reach their full potential.

The Lamia Afghan Foundation is an all-volunteer nonprofit dedicated to helping the children and disadvantaged people of Afghanistan by providing humanitarian aid, educational opportunities, and vocational training that will create opportunities for the next generation of Afghans that were unavailable or out of reach for their parents.

“This generous grant will allow us to have ten schools for girls in a protected and safe environment. They will be able to study beyond the sixth grade even though the Taliban has said that is the limit for public schooling for girls,” said President and CEO of the Lamia Afghan Foundation John Bradley, Lieutenant General, U.S. Air Force (Retired). “We have educated tens of thousands of girls in the fourteen years of our foundation work. The Taliban may be in control of the government now, but the education they received cannot be taken from these girls.”

Founded in 2007 by humanitarian, social innovator and Afghan native Razia Jan, Razia’s Ray of Hope is supported by a global team of women leaders and visionaries committed to peace. The Foundation knows that community-based, culturally aware education is a critical pathway toward meaningful change for future generations. Founded on the knowledge that education is key to positive, peaceful change for current and future generations, Razia’s Ray of Hope provides young Afghans with the opportunity to learn in a safe, nurturing environment.

“The Catherine Bertini Trust Fund for Girls’ Education’s investment in our teacher training program helps to ensure the sustainability of Afghan girls’ education, and we could not be more grateful. Educated girls show the world the value of a dowry is nothing compared to that of a diploma,” said Razia Jan, Founder of Razia’s Ray of Hope.

The School of Leadership Afghanistan (SOLA)’s mission is to provide Afghan girls with an environment where they can focus on their education and reach their potential in a way that is unprecedented in Afghanistan. SOLA can provide a safe and nurturing space in which to learn, where students can go from believing their role in society is to raise a family to navigating the world as critical thinkers and leaders who understand that they have the power to shape their nation’s future.

“The Taliban’s return to power in Afghanistan has imperiled the educations of millions of Afghan girls–not only girls still living in Afghanistan, but also those now dispersed worldwide in refugee camps. We’ve recently launched our 2022 admissions season at SOLA, and this grant will broaden our ability to specifically reach out to Afghan girls in these camps and to ultimately bring dozens of them to our Rwanda campus to continue their schooling this fall, ” said SOLA founder Shabana Basij-Rasikh.

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About World Food Program USA

World Food Program USA, a 501(c)(3) organization based in Washington, DC, proudly supports the mission of the United Nations World Food Programme by mobilizing American policymakers, businesses and individuals to advance the global movement to end hunger. Our leadership and support help to bolster an enduring American legacy of feeding families in need around the world. To learn more about World Food Program USA’s mission, please visit  wfpusa.org/mission-history.

About the Catherine Bertini Trust Fund for Girls’ Education

After winning the World Food Prize in 2003, Catherine Bertini, the former executive director for the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), recognized an opportunity to leave a lasting legacy for women’s empowerment. Bertini used her winnings to establish the Catherine Bertini Trust Fund for Girls’ Education, a fund that supports innovative grassroots initiatives around the globe that boost access to training and educational opportunities for girls.

Media Contact:  
Toula Athas
World Food Program USA

COX’S BAZAR – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) is serving hot meals today to 2,200 refugees affected by a large fire that damaged or destroyed at least 500 shelters in Camp 16 of the Kutupalong refugee settlement.

In the immediate aftermath of the blaze last night, the U.N. World Food Programme and its national NGO partner Resource Integration Centre (RIC) distributed fortified biscuits to 328 families (approximately 1,600 people) who had lost their homes or cooking equipment. Starting today, the U.N. World Food Programme will distribute hot meals twice daily to all the families left with no means to cook until shelters and cooking equipment, including cooking gas, can be restored. Families will then be reintegrated into the regular food assistance program.

“We are deeply saddened to see the extent of the devastation in Camp 16,” said Sheila Grudem, the U.N. World Food Programme’s senior emergency coordinator and head of office in Cox’s Bazar. “Thanks to the partnerships we have with national organizations, UN agencies, retailers and local restaurants, we fortunately have the capacity to provide immediate relief to those who have lost everything and we have all our hands on deck to do so,” Grudem added.

As in the March 2021 fires, the U.N. World Food Programme is also making its suite of digital beneficiary management systems available to humanitarian partners to support the coordination of the delivery of non-food items such as cooking gas, especially to those refugees who have lost their documents in the fire. Volunteers from the U.N. World Food Programme and the inter-agency Site Maintenance Engineering Project (SMEP) are also deployed in the field to support the clearance of debris.

The U.N. World Food Programme’s regular food assistance in Cox’s Bazar provides every refugee family in the camps with an electronic voucher (“e-voucher”) topped up with a monthly allowance of $12 per person per month. Refugees can purchase their preferred foods directly from a network of 22 outlets in the camps managed by Bangladeshi retailers. No U.N. World Food Programme site was damaged by the fire, which will allow affected families to return to the outlets as soon as they have the means to cook.

Cox’s Bazar is the largest refugee settlement in the world, home to almost 900,000 refugees. In a dense mesh of bamboo and tarpaulin shelters, fires are one of many hazards adding to the extreme vulnerability of refugees. In March 2021, 10,000 homes burned down and at least 45,000 people were displaced. Heavy monsoon floods in July 2021 affected 46,000 refugees and caused devastating landslides.

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The United Nations World Food Programme is the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate.  We are the world’s largest humanitarian organization, saving lives in emergencies and using food assistance to build a pathway to peace, stability and prosperity for people recovering from conflict, disasters and the impact of climate change.

Follow us on Twitter @WFPUSA and @wfp_media

MANILA – Three weeks after Super Typhoon Odette (known internationally as Rai) devastated a huge swathe of the Philippines, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) is warning that nutrition and food security are at risk in communities in hard-hit areas unless immediate food needs are met over the next six months.

“Super Typhoon Odette left a trail of devastation in its wake – affecting millions. Unless we act now and provide badly needed food assistance to affected families, we risk seeing a rapid rise in preventable malnutrition,” said U.N. World Food Programme Country Director and Representative Brenda Barton. 11 out of the Philippines’ 17 regions were affected.

Typhoon Odette – the strongest typhoon to strike the Philippine archipelago in 2021- made landfall nine times over an area the size of Austria over two days. Over 7 million people were affected, according to the latest government data, and the typhoon flattened houses, upended lives, and devastated farming and fishing communities which provide a major source of income and livelihoods. It caused massive electricity and telecommunications outages that are still affecting many areas.

“Advance preparations and early response by the government have been laudable. Death rates have been relatively low and emergency support is rolling out to communities. But the road to recovery is long and more support will be needed,” Barton added.

She underlined highly concerning hunger levels and malnutrition rates pre-typhoon. In some impacted areas like Caraga region, 53 percent of families were unable to afford a nutritious diet while childhood stunting was 36 percent (beyond the World Health Organization threshold, which signifies “very high public health significance.”) Stunting indicates that children are already suffering from long-term deprivation. Their nutritional status puts them greater risk for diseases and even death.

In support of government-led relief and recovery efforts, the U.N. World Food Programme requires $25.8 million to provide food assistance to 250,000 typhoon survivors, alongside emergency logistics and telecommunications support to the broader typhoon response. Of this, $20.8 million is needed for food and cash transfers over the next six months.

Initially, the U.N. World Food Programme will provide food to augment the family food packs given out by the Department of Social Welfare (DSWD), ensuring communities can meet their essential food needs while food prices remain unstable. This will be followed by cash assistance, which will help people to recover while also stimulating the economy in places where markets are already up-and-running.

So far, U.N. World Food Programme has received $4.7 million – from the Governments of Australia, Brazil, Ireland and the US, the United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), private sector and generous individual donations via the U.N. World Food Programme’s Share The Meal website and app. “Immediate funding is essential if we are to prevent a nutrition emergency – we were already seeing worrisome malnutrition in the affected areas,” Barton added.

When Typhoon Odette hit, the U.N. World Food Programme immediately supported the Philippine Government in its relief efforts, deploying 113 trucks to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) for the delivery of family food packs, hygiene kits and other non-food relief items. The U.N. World Food Programme and the Department of Information, Communication and Technology have also – for the first time – rolled out innovative mobile emergency telecommunications sets (“MOVE”) which have made it possible for emergency responders to quickly communicate and coordinate in the immediate aftermath of the typhoon.

According to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), women and girls become even more vulnerable to sexual exploitation, human trafficking and gender-based violence after natural calamities such as Typhoon Odette. Unconfirmed incidents of rape, domestic violence and sex in exchange for food have been reported by UNFPA field staff – a result of the desperate situation ignited by the scarcity of food and clean water, and the disruption of community support systems and protection mechanisms brought upon by Typhoon Odette.

“We’re seeing all of these challenges at the present time, and we know that they are linked. That is why we put women’s health, rights, and choices at the center of our humanitarian response to the devastation wrought by Super Typhoon Odette,“ said Dr. Leila Joudane, UNFPA Representative in the Philippines.

Note to editors:

The U.N. World Food Programme’s funding request for $25.8 million to assist 250,000 people is part of the Humanitarian Needs and Priorities (HNP) plan which aims to mobilize $107.2 million to assist 530,000 people mostly in typhoon-affected areas from December 2021 to June 2022. UNICEF and the National Nutrition Council co-lead the national Nutrition Cluster comprising: national government, UN , NGO’s and CSO’s.

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The United Nations World Food Programme is the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate.  We are the world’s largest humanitarian organization, saving lives in emergencies and using food assistance to build a pathway to peace, stability and prosperity for people recovering from conflict, disasters and the impact of climate change.

Follow us on Twitter @WFPUSA and @wfp_media, @WFP_Philippines

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