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.

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ROME: The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) is working with Uber Technologies Inc, a global mobility and delivery platform, to transport emergency assistance to people in need in urban areas across Ukraine through the use of a custom-built version of Uber’s platform.

With larger vehicles facing issues reaching those in need in built-up areas, collaboration with Uber allows the U.N. World Food Programme to better coordinate, dispatch and track a fleet of smaller vehicles delivering relief items from warehouses to people in need in densely populated areas of Ukraine.

Through this platform, the U.N. World Food Programme can get its food closer to those people needing its support, dispatching deliveries in various sizes of vehicle, tracking each trip to its destination and confirming deliveries have been made safely.

Through this collaboration, the U.N. World Food Programme has already delivered food from its warehouse in Dnipro to other parts of the city, ready for distribution. Further deliveries are also ongoing in other parts of the country, including Lviv, Vinnytsia, Kyiv and Chernivtsi. The progress of deliveries can be tracked in real-time through the platform.

“The U.N. World Food Programme is playing a critical role in providing food and cash assistance to those most affected by the war in Ukraine. This technology helps the U.N. World Food Programme facilitate its response and improves how we serve communities in Ukraine that rely on us,” said Matthew Hollingworth, the U.N. World Food Programme’s emergency coordinator in Ukraine. “It enhances our access to Ukrainian businesses within Uber’s network, making our operations more efficient while also harnessing local capacities.”

“Uber is thrilled to be working with the U.N. World Food Programme to help them more efficiently distribute emergency food relief across Ukraine, by providing free access to a customized version of the Uber platform,” said CEO of Uber Dara Khosrowshahi. “Using our technology, the U.N. World Food Programme can now schedule, dispatch, track and manage deliveries by a network of cars and small vans to final distribution points within a 60 mile radius of U.N. World Food Programme warehouses across the country.”

This work is in addition to a $250,000 donation made by Uber to World Food Program USA to support the emergency response in Ukraine. “We thank Uber for helping us deliver critical humanitarian assistance in Ukraine. Private sector collaborations like this are critical in helping us deploy innovative, custom solutions to address complex challenges,” said President and CEO of World Food Program USA Barron Segar.

The U.N. World Food Programme has rapidly scaled up its operations in and around Ukraine over the past three months. By the end of June, the U.N. World Food Programme will be providing food and cash to more than 3 million people per month in the country.

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About WFP: 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.

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About Uber: Uber’s mission is to create opportunity through movement. We started in 2010 to solve a simple problem: how do you get access to a ride at the touch of a button? More than 30 billion trips later, we’re building products to get people closer to where they want to be. By changing how people, food, and things move through cities, Uber is a platform that opens up the world to new possibilities.

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CAIRO – As the Muslim holy month of Ramadan begins, the soaring cost of food staples in import-dependent Middle Eastern and North African countries is creating ever greater challenges for millions of families already struggling to keep hunger at bay, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) said yesterday.

Traditionally a month of festivities, when families gather over traditional foods to break their day-long fast, this year millions will be struggling to buy even the most basic foods for their families as the war in Ukraine has pushed food prices even higher than the troubling levels at the start of the year.

“We are extremely concerned about the millions of people in this region who are already struggling to access enough food because of a toxic combination of conflict, climate change and the economic aftermath of COVID-19,” said Corinne Fleischer, U.N. World Food Programme regional director for the Middle East and North Africa. “People’s resilience is at a breaking point. This crisis is creating shockwaves in the food markets that touch every home in this region. No one is spared.”

The knock-on effect of the Ukraine crisis is adding further strain to the import-dependent region. The prices of wheat flour and vegetable oil – two key staples in the diet of most families – have consequently risen across the region. Cooking oil is up 36% in Yemen and 39% in Syria. Wheat flour is up 47% in Lebanon, 15% in Libya and 14% in Palestine.

Even prior to the conflict in Ukraine, inflation and increasing prices were putting basic food items beyond the reach of the most vulnerable. Food prices reached an all-time high in February 2022, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization’s Food Price Index.

The cost of a basic food basket – the minimum food needs per family per month – registered an annual increase of 351% in Lebanon, the highest in the region. It was followed by Syria, with a 97% rise, and Yemen with 81% hike. The three countries, all reliant on food imports, also reported sharp currency depreciation. Meanwhile, a drought in Syria has impacted the country’s annual wheat production.

With global prices rising, the U.N. World Food Programme’s meagre resources for operations in the region, especially in Yemen and Syria, will be under even more pressure than before. In both countries, conflict and the related economic shrinkage have left more than 29 million people in need of food assistance. The U.N. World Food Programme is supporting nearly 19 million people in the two countries.

The global food price hikes and the Ukraine conflict have resulted in the U.N. World Food Programme facing an additional cost of $71 million per month for global operations compared to 2019 – a 50% rise.

“The Ukraine crisis makes a bad funding situation worse. There are immediate humanitarian needs that demand attention. Donors have in recent years helped us provide food to millions in the region. Now the situation is critical and it’s time to be even more generous,” added Fleischer.

The U.N. World Food Programme currently has only 24% of the funding it needs in Syria and 31% of what it needs in Yemen. Due to funding constraints, the U.N. World Food Programme has already been forced to reduce food rations in both countries. Further reductions risk pushing people towards starvation.

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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, @WFPYemen and @WFP_MENA

LVIV – One month into the conflict in Ukraine, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) is providing emergency food assistance to 1 million people in the country and has built systems able to deliver food at scale to communities in need. Trucks, trains and mini vans are today delivering food supplies to the most vulnerable people across the country and more convoys are expected in coming days.

Following a massive scale-up of operations, the U.N. World Food Programme has provided 330,000 loaves of freshly baked bread to families in the city of Kharkiv, cash assistance to displaced people in Lviv and ready-to-eat food in various parts of the country. U.N. World Food Programme emergency food supplies have also made it to the conflict areas of Sumy and Kharkiv through two interagency humanitarian convoys. These achievements come despite a volatile security situation, difficulties finding partners on the ground and the challenges of serving a population on the move.

“Just one month ago, we had no presence on the ground, no staff, no network of suppliers or partners. To build an operation from the ground up and get food to 1 million people seemed a monumental challenge,” said Jakob Kern, the U.N. World Food Programme’s emergency coordinator for Ukraine. “Now that the structures are in place, we need the funding to keep delivering assistance, and to help 3 million people in need.”

Over 6.5 million people are displaced inside Ukraine and the pre-conflict supply chain systems for feeding the country’s population have broken down. According to the preliminary findings of a remote assessment by the U.N. World Food Programme, food is among the top three concerns for people inside Ukraine, along with safety and fuel for transportation.

The U.N. World Food Programme estimates that 45% of the population are worried about finding enough to eat. In a country which used to grow food for 400 million people around the world, one person in five now reports having to reduce the size and number of their meals while adults skip meals so their children can eat. Close to 4 million people – mainly women and children – have fled the conflict and become refugees in neighboring countries.

“We’re talking about a catastrophe on top of a catastrophe,” U.N. World Food Programme Executive Director David Beasley told the United Nations Security Council in a briefing on Tuesday. “We would have never dreamed anything like this would be possible. And it’s not just decimating Ukraine and the region. It will have a global impact beyond anything we’ve seen since World War II.”

The conflict in Ukraine is triggering a wave of collateral hunger elsewhere in the world. Global food prices have increased sharply since the onset of the conflict – reaching an all-time high in February 2022. These hikes will affect local food prices and further limit access to food for millions of people who are already under stress because of food inflation in their countries.

“The consequences of the conflict are radiating outwards,” said U.N. World Food Programme Regional Director Corinne Fleischer. “Higher prices mean more people around the world will fall into hunger. At the same time, we at the U.N. World Food Programme also have to pay more for the food we buy, so our operations to help those people also take a hit. We need the world to step up at this critical time.”

The U.N. World Food Programme requires $590 million to assist 3.1 million crisis-affected people and IDPs on the move inside Ukraine with in-kind and cash distributions, as well as refugees and asylum seekers from Ukraine in neighboring countries for the next three months.

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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 @WFP_JP

The War in Ukraine Is Triggering a Wave of Collateral Hunger Across the Globe as Food and Fuel Prices Surge

RZESZOW, Poland – As the emergency operation in Ukraine moved into high gear today, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) expressed deep concern about the waning ability of families in embattled areas to find food and also warned that the crisis could have consequences well beyond Ukraine’s borders.

“In a year when the world is already facing an unprecedented level of hunger, it’s just tragic to see hunger raising its head in what has long been the breadbasket of Europe,” said U.N. World Food Programme Executive Director David Beasley during a visit to a staging hub set up by the organization on the Polish-Ukrainian border. “The bullets and bombs in Ukraine could take the global hunger crisis to levels beyond anything we’ve seen before.”

With reports coming in of severe shortages of food and water in Kyiv, the capital, and the northeastern city of Kharkiv, U.N. World Food Programme teams are setting up operations and hubs in countries neighboring Ukraine. These will both facilitate delivery of food assistance into the country and assist refugees coming over the borders.

The immediate priority is to establish a food lifeline into Kyiv and other conflict hotspots. With consignments of food assistance arriving every day, the U.N. World Food Programme is in a race against time to pre-position food in areas where fighting is expected to flare. The U.N. World Food Programme is in the process of finding partners in Ukraine to help it distribute assistance and teams in neighbouring countries are identifying local vendors in order to purchase more stock.

Amid a shortage of cash in Ukraine, the U.N. World Food Programme plans to provide assistance through food distributions, cash and food vouchers that can be spent in selected shops. Food distributions will prioritize the big towns on the Ukraine side of the border where families are gathering as they wait to see how the conflict develops. The U.N. World Food Programme also plans to assist refugees who crossed the border to neighbouring countries.

The Russian Federation and Ukraine are responsible for 29% of the global wheat trade. Any serious disruption of production and exports from the region could push food prices beyond their current 10-year highs. This will erode food security for millions of people, especially those who are already under stress because of high levels of food inflation in their countries.

“This is not just a crisis inside Ukraine. This is going to affect supply chains, and particularly the cost of food,” Beasley warned. “Now we’re looking at a price hike that will cost us, in operational costs, anywhere from $60 and $75 million dollars more per month. And that means more people are going to go to bed hungry.”

At the start of 2022, the world is facing an unprecedented hunger challenge, as conflict and climate shocks compounded by COVID-19 and rising costs drive millions of people closer to starvation — threatening to increase migration and instability globally. With the numbers of hungry rising, the U.N. World Food Programme is calling for a step-change in global support for its operations.

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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 and @wfp_media

The conflict unfolding in Ukraine is heartbreaking to watch, and our hearts and prayers go out to all Ukrainians caught in this crisis. The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) is launching an emergency operation to provide food assistance for civilians fleeing the conflict and is currently calling for $570M for its portion of the emergency response.

The U.N. World Food Programme is scaling up to reach millions of people affected by the conflict using cash-based transfers as well as in-kind food distributions and is also preparing for an emergency operation to provide assistance to displaced Ukrainians in refugee hosting countries. In addition, the agency is leading the emergency telecommunications and logistics effort on behalf of the United Nations.

The U.N. World Food Programme has prior experience working in Ukraine. From November 2014 until April 2018, WFP’s operations assisted more than one million people through cash, food vouchers or locally purchased food rations, operating in both government- and non-government-controlled areas.

Conflict is the main driver of hunger and food insecurity in the world. We are deeply concerned about the potential impact on access to food for civilians in affected areas and on our operations globally.

We stand committed to the people of Ukraine and will do everything we can to help, but we can’t do it without the generous support of donors. World Food Program USA has set a fundraising goal of $5M to support emergency operations in Ukraine. Please donate now so we can rush emergency food to Ukrainians in their time of desperate need.

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The United Nations World Food Programme is the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and 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.

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.

Media Contact:
Toula Athas
Director, Communications
tathas@wfpusa.org
202-627-3940

SANA’A – Yemen is spiraling into a catastrophe as humanitarian funding dries up, forcing the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) to scale back food assistance to millions of hungry families, U.N. World Food Programme Executive Director David Beasley warned last week as he ended a two-day visit to the conflict-ravaged country.

“We have no choice but to take food from the hungry to feed the starving and, unless we receive immediate funding, in a few weeks we risk not even being able to feed the starving. This will be hell on earth,” Beasley said.

The escalation of conflict in Ukraine is likely to further increase fuel and food prices and especially grains in the import-dependent country. Food prices have more than doubled across much of Yemen over the past year, leaving more than half of the country in need of food assistance. Higher food prices will push more people into the vicious circle of hunger and dependence on humanitarian assistance.

The U.N. World Food Programme provides food assistance to 13 million people every month in Yemen, but was forced to halve food rations for 8 million people at the beginning of the year due to a shortage of funding. 5 million people who are at immediate risk of slipping into famine conditions have continued to receive a full food ration.

But without an immediate influx of cash, more severe reductions will be unavoidable and millions of hungry people may not receive food at all. For Yemenis, the timing could not be worse. As families try to put food on the table, they are being hampered by the knock-on effects of a serious escalation in fighting alongside the continuing deterioration of the economy.

Beasley met with government officials and spent time with families in hospitals and food distribution centers in Aden, Sana’a and Amran governorates. These governorates have alarming levels of food insecurity, with Amran even showing pockets of famine in the 2020 food security assessments.

The U.N. World Food Programme chief heard first-hand about the impact of cuts in assistance on families’ lives. He spoke to a mother caring for her severely malnourished child in an Amran hospital. She said she was displaced from Hajjah on the frontlines and could have stayed in her home had she received food for her children. Instead, she sold her furniture and sheep and took her children in search of food and safety.

“It has been less than a year since I was in Yemen and it is worse than anyone can possibly imagine. Yemen has come full circle since 2018 when we had to fight our way back from the brink of famine but the risk today is more real than ever,” said Beasley. “And just when you think it can’t get any worse, the world wakes up to a conflict in Ukraine that is likely to cause economic deterioration around the world especially for countries like Yemen, dependent on wheat imports from Ukraine and Russia. Prices will go up compounding an already terrible situation.”

The U.N. World Food Programme needs $800 million in the next six months to provide full assistance to the 13 million people it has been assisting until now.

Last year, the U.N. World Food Programme delivered more than 1 million tons of food and over $330 million in cash and voucher assistance to families across Yemen.

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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, @WFPYemen and @WFP_MENA

HUNGER CRISIS

The war in Ukraine is exacerbating hunger worldwide, including in South Sudan where extreme weather, high food prices and violence are driving millions into hunger. We URGENTLY need your support to scale up and send food today.

HUNGER CRISIS

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