Statement From World Food Program USA on Escalating Global Hunger Crisis and Appeal for $5 Billion in Supplemental International Food Assistance

Published May 11, 2022

WASHINGTON, DC (May 11, 2022)— As the world faces a hunger catastrophe of unprecedented scale, today the United Nations World Food Programme Executive Director David Beasley spoke to the Senate State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs Appropriations Subcommittee on the increasing rates of global hunger and growing need for funding to feed families across the globe. In support of the U.N. World Food Programme, the world’s largest provider of humanitarian food assistance, World Food Program USA has joined a coalition of more than 20 advocacy partners to call on Congress for $5 billion in supplemental international food assistance. Last night, the House of Representatives passed the bill (H.R. 7691) with overwhelming bipartisan support and it now awaits a Senate vote.

“WFP now anticipates that in the countries where we operate, acute hunger could rise by 47 million people from a pre-war baseline of 276 million people who were already in the grip of acute hunger. This means that up to 323 million people could be facing crisis levels of acute food insecurity in the coming months,” Executive Director Beasley described in his written testimony submitted to the Subcommittee.

The Ukraine war is driving wheat, cooking oil and other commodity prices to near all-time highs across global markets. The U.N. World Food Programme has seen its operational costs increase by more than $70 million each month to reach the same number of beneficiaries. To prevent both humanitarian and development contexts from metastasizing into global instability, additional resources are required.

Executive Director Beasley outlined what’s at stake if Congress doesn’t act swiftly: “The costs of humanitarian inaction are tremendous, especially for people in need, who in the worst cases pay with their lives. Failing to mobilize sufficient, strategic, and timely funds for humanitarian assistance will not spare national budgets. Let me warn you clearly: if you do not respond now, we will see destabilization, mass starvation, and migration on an unprecedented scale, and at a far greater cost.”

“I therefore urge the members of this body to take decisive action to prevent a rapidly worsening global food crisis and help WFP and our partners stabilize the food security of the most fragile countries at this time of unprecedented need. At a minimum, an additional $5 billion for food assistance from the United States will provide aid agencies like WFP with the support they need to stem the tide of famine.”

The Senate must pass this life-saving funding bill to help the U.N. World Food Programme maintain food assistance to 45 million people on the brink of famine as well as others in dire need.  Providing food, nutrition and cash vouchers to vulnerable households that cannot access or afford nutritious food to feed their families is among the most cost-effective ways to reduce further instability.

World Food Program USA is calling on individuals across the country to join its Advocacy Network and to contact their representatives to support this critical funding. Together, the American public can encourage the Senate to act today to help ensure that no family goes to bed hungry tomorrow.

Media Contact:
Toula Athas
Director, Communications
World Food Program USA