KABUL – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has rapidly deployed food and logistics equipment to support communities devastated by the June 22nd earthquake that struck near the city of Khost. 18 trucks are being deployed 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, with 2,000 others injured. However, rescue efforts have been hampered by heavy rain and winds, as well as poor connectivity in affected areas.

“The Afghan people are already facing an unprecedented crisis following decades of conflict, severe drought and an economic downturn. The earthquake will only add to the already massive humanitarian needs they endure daily, including for the nearly 19 million people across the country who face acute hunger and require assistance. Our teams rapidly mobilized and will continue to provide support to help affected families get through this latest tragedy,” said Gordon Craig, U.N. World Food Programme deputy country director in Afghanistan.

The U.N. World Food Programme works in all 34 provinces of the country and has a fleet of 239 trucks on the road every day, delivering food to some 800 food distribution sites across the country. In May, the U.N. World Food Programme provided 590,000 people in Paktika province and 320,000 in Khost with emergency food and nutrition assistance. Since the start of 2022, the U.N. World Food Programme has assisted 18 million people with food, cash and livelihoods support in Afghanistan.

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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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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

Yesterday, Representatives Jim McGovern (D-MA) and Tracey Mann (R-KS) introduced H. Res. 1156 commemorating the 20-year anniversary of the McGovern-Dole International Food for Education Program, a unique program leveraging the strength of American farmers to fight childhood hunger worldwide.

“World Food Program USA thanks Congress for recognizing this remarkable program and for the foresight 20 years ago to bring it into fruition,” said Barron Segar, President and CEO, World Food Program USA. “The McGovern-Dole program is a shining example of America’s commitment to ending hunger in all its forms and is central to this country’s ongoing legacy of leadership on issues related to global hunger.”

World Food Program USA has a long history with the McGovern-Dole program, with the original legislation put forward by World Food Program USA Board Members Senators George McGovern (D-SD) and Bob Dole (R-KS). In 2008, the Senators were made World Food Prize laureates for their efforts.

The United States is the largest donor to the United Nations World Food Programme’s school meals program, provided primarily through the McGovern-Dole International Food for Education program. School meals are a critical component in breaking the cycle of hunger and poverty, increasing school enrollment, reducing the number of school dropouts (especially among girls), and improving the overall health of children.

Originally authorized in the 2002 Farm Bill, the McGovern-Dole program has successfully improved the food security and nutrition of millions of children in low-income, food-deficit countries around the world in part through donations of US commodities. Since its inception, it has provided school meals to more than 40 million children in 40 of the world’s lowest-income countries, several of which face near-famine conditions.

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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.

Conflict, weather extremes, economic shocks, the lingering impacts of COVID-19 and the ripple effects from the war in Ukraine push millions of people in countries across the world into poverty and hunger as food and fuel price spikes drive nations closer to instability, says new hunger hotspots report.

ROME – The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) today issued a stark warning of multiple, looming food crises, driven by conflict, climate shocks, the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic and massive public debt burdens – exacerbated by the ripple effects of the war in Ukraine which has pushed food and fuel prices to accelerate in many nations across the globe. These shocks hit in contexts already characterized by rural marginalization and fragile agrifood systems.

The Hunger Hotspots – FAO-WFP early warnings on acute food insecurity report issued today calls for urgent humanitarian action in 20 “hunger hotspots” where acute hunger is expected to worsen from June – September 2022.

The report warns that the war in Ukraine has exacerbated the already steadily rising food and energy prices worldwide. The effects are expected to be particularly acute where economic instability and spiraling prices combine with drops in food production due to climate shocks, such as recurrent droughts or flooding.

“We are deeply concerned about the combined impacts of overlapping crises jeopardizing people’s ability to produce and access foods, pushing millions more into extreme levels of acute food insecurity,” said FAO Director-General QU Dongyu. “We are in a race against time to help farmers in the most affected countries, including by rapidly increasing potential food production and boosting their resilience in the face of challenges.”

“We’re facing a perfect storm that is not just going to hurt the poorest of the poor. It’s also going to overwhelm millions of families who, until now, have just about kept their heads above water,” warned U.N. World Food Programme Executive Director David Beasley.

“Conditions now are much worse than during the Arab Spring in 2011 and 2007-2008 food price crisis, when 48 countries were rocked by political unrest, riots and protests. We’ve already seen what’s happening in Indonesia, Pakistan, Peru and Sri Lanka – that’s just the tip of the iceberg. We have solutions. But we need to act, and act fast,” he warned.

Key findings

The report finds that – alongside conflict – frequent and recurring climate shocks continue to drive acute hunger and shows that we have entered a ‘new normal’ where droughts, flooding, hurricanes, and cyclones repeatedly decimate farming and livestock rearing, drive population displacement and push millions to the brink in countries across the world.

The report warns that worrisome climatic trends linked to La Niña since late 2020 are expected to continue through 2022, driving up humanitarian needs and acute hunger. An unprecedented drought in East Africa affecting Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya is leading to a fourth consecutive below-average rainfall season, while South Sudan will face its fourth consecutive year of large-scale flooding – which will likely continue to drive people from their homes and devastate crops and livestock production. The report also expects above-average rains and a risk of localized flooding in the Sahel, a more intense hurricane season in the Caribbean, and below-average rains in Afghanistan – which is already reeling from multiple seasons of drought, violence and political upheaval.

The report also emphasises the urgency of the dire macroeconomic conditions in several countries – brought on by the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic and exacerbated by the recent upheaval in global food and energy markets. These conditions are causing dramatic income losses among the poorest communities and are straining the capacity of national governments to fund social safety nets, income-supporting measure, and the import of essential goods.

According to the report, Ethiopia, Nigeria, South Sudan and Yemen remain at ‘highest alert’ as hotspots with catastrophic conditions. Afghanistan and Somalia are new entries to this worrisome category since the last hotspots report released January 2022. These six countries all have parts of the population facing IPC Phase 5 ‘Catastrophe’ or at risk of deterioration towards catastrophic conditions, with up to 750,000 people facing starvation and death. 400,000 of these are in Ethiopia’s Tigray region – the highest number on record in one country since the famine in Somalia in 2011.

The Democratic Republic of the Congo, Haiti, the Sahel, the Sudan and Syria remain ‘of very high concern’ with deteriorating critical conditions, as in the previous edition of this report – with Kenya a new entry to the list. Sri Lanka, West African coastal countries (Benin, Cabo Verde and Guinea), Ukraine and Zimbabwe have been added to the list of hotspots countries, joining Angola, Lebanon, Madagascar and Mozambique which continue to be hunger hotspots – according to the report.

Scaling up anticipatory action to prevent disasters

The report provides concrete, country-specific recommendations on priorities for immediate humanitarian response to save lives, prevent famine and protect livelihoods, as well as anticipatory action. The recent G7 commitment highlighted the importance of strengthening anticipatory action in humanitarian and development assistance – ensuring predictable hazards don’t become full-blown humanitarian disasters.

FAO and WFP have partnered to ramp up the scale and reach of anticipatory action, to protect communities’ lives, food security and livelihoods before they need lifesaving assistance in the critical window between an early warning and a shock. Flexible humanitarian funding enables FAO and the U.N. World Food Programme to anticipate humanitarian needs and save lives. Evidence shows that for every $1 invested in anticipatory action to safeguard lives and livelihoods, up to $7 can be saved by avoiding losses for disaster-affected communities.

 

Note to editors

Photos available via this link.

About the report

Identified through forward-looking analysis, the ‘hunger hotspots’ have the potential for acute food insecurity to increase during the outlook period. The hotspots are selected through a consensus-based process involving the U.N. World Food Programme and FAO field and technical teams, alongside analysts specialized in conflict, economic risks and natural hazards.

The report provides country-specific recommendations on priorities for anticipatory action – short-term protective interventions to be implemented before new humanitarian needs materialize and emergency response – actions to address existing humanitarian needs. The report is part of a series of analytical products produced under the Global Network Against Food Crises, to enhance and coordinate the generation and sharing of evidence-based information and analysis for preventing and addressing food crises.

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About FAO

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) is a specialized agency that leads international efforts to defeat hunger. It aims at transforming agri-food systems, making them more efficient, inclusive, resilient and sustainable for better production, better nutrition, better environment and better life, leaving no-one behind. FAO’s 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. With over 194 Members, FAO works in over 130 countries worldwide.

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.

About the Global Network Against Food Crises

Founded by the European Union, FAO and the U.N. World Food Programme in 2016, the Global Network Against Food Crises is an alliance of humanitarian and development actors working together to prevent, prepare for and respond to food crises and support the Sustainable Development Goal to End Hunger (SDG 2).

Follow us on Twitter @WFPUSA@wfp_media, @FAOnews, @FAOemergencies and @fightfoodcrises

Hunger and malnutrition worsen across Somalia as risk of famine increases amid historic fourth failed rainy season.

Mogadishu – A historic fourth consecutive failed rainy season, skyrocketing prices and an underfunded humanitarian response have resulted in a 160% increase in people facing catastrophic levels of hunger, starvation and disease in Somalia. With no end in sight for the devastating drought affecting the country, the risk of famine looms larger than ever. An urgent increase in support from the international community is essential to avert famine.

A new report from the Famine Early Warning Network and the Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), based on a rapid assessment by multiple United Nations agencies, shows that 7.1 million Somalis (close to 50% of the population) now face crisis-level hunger or worse through at least September 2022. Of those, 213,000 people face catastrophic hunger and starvation, a drastic increase from the 81,000 forecast in April. More areas are at risk of famine, particularly in the south of the country in regions where insecurity and conflict make humanitarian access more challenging.

These figures reflect a food security situation that is expected to deteriorate rapidly over the coming months. United Nations agencies and partners are now focusing their limited resources on famine prevention to protect the country’s most at risk, as meteorological organizations warn that another below-average rainy season could follow later in the year.

“We are staring at a potential calamity; failure to act now will be tragic for scores of families in Somalia,” said Adam Abdelmoula, deputy special representative of the secretary-general, resident and humanitarian coordinator. “Somalia is in danger of entering an unprecedented fifth consecutive failed rainy season, meaning hundreds of thousands of people face the risk of famine. Famine cost the lives of 260,000 Somalis in 2010 – 2011.This cannot be allowed to happen again in 2022. It is urgent that more is done to avert this risk and done now,” he said.

Collectively, humanitarian agencies have reached 2.8 million people between January and April 2022 with lifesaving and livelihood assistance through drought assistance and famine prevention programs, but the new assessment clearly indicates that the scale of assistance currently being delivered and funding from the international community is not yet sufficient to protect those most at risk.

Food prices affecting the most vulnerable

Somali families are increasingly unable to cope with soaring food prices as local food has become scarce due to consecutive seasons of poor or failed domestic production, livestock deaths and imported food prices reaching record levels – in part because of supply chain disruptions due to conflict in Ukraine. In parts of the country, food prices have risen 140 – 160%, leaving poor families hungry and destitute.

“We must act immediately to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe. The lives of the most vulnerable are already at risk from malnutrition and hunger, and we cannot wait for a declaration of famine to act,” said El-Khidir Daloum, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP)’s country director in Somalia. “It’s a race against time to prevent famine and the U.N. World Food Programme is scaling up as much as possible, prioritizing our limited resources to save those most at risk. But as these new figures show, there is an urgent need for more resources to meet this escalating hunger crisis,” he said.

Around 3 million livestock have died due to the drought since mid-2021, and the decline in meat and milk production has also led to worsening malnutrition, particularly among young children in pastoral areas who are dependent on local supply. As of May 2022, an estimated 1.5 million children under the age of 5 face acute malnutrition through the end of the year, including 386,400 who are likely to be severely malnourished – an increase of 55,000 compared to previous estimates.

The malnutrition crisis is likely to worsen as the nutrition situation deteriorates further in the affected areas, with children and vulnerable people the hardest hit. “This is a child crisis. It’s not only about water or nutrition, but also about children losing education, falling vulnerable to child protection issues and having poor health; all impacting their future,” said Angela Kearney, UNICEF Somalia Representative. UNICEF has supported the treatment of more than 114,000 children with severe acute malnutrition between January and April 2022. “We are treating children but now we need further funding to prevent a famine and protect the future of every Somali child,” she said.

Grim situation as humanitarian funding falls far short

The grim food security situation is unfolding as humanitarian funding from the international community has so far fallen short of coming close to what actors need to avert a famine in the country. The 2022 Humanitarian Response Plan is currently only 18% funded. “The support required has not yet fully materialized, and hundreds of thousands of Somalis are at a very real risk of starvation and death,” said Etienne Peterschmitt, FAO’s representative in Somalia.

“It’s a tragedy to see the level of distress that rural communities in particular are experiencing, and we are being limited in what we can do to prevent this extraordinary suffering. We’re calling on the international community to act fast while we still have some hope of preventing collapse of livelihoods, potentially massive population displacement from rural areas to IDP camps and widespread famine in Somalia,” he said.

CAIRO – The war in Ukraine has dealt a fresh hammer blow to Syria’s ability to feed itself just as the country struggles to deal with levels of hunger that are up by half since 2019, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) said prior to an annual donor pledging conference held in Brussels.

With years of conflict, a severe economic downturn and food prices rising relentlessly since 2020, the Ukraine crisis is exacerbating what was already an alarming food security scenario in Syria. In March, food prices increased by 24% in just one month, following an 800% increase in the last two years. This has brought food prices to their highest level since 2013.

“Saying that the situation in Syria is alarming is a huge understatement. The heart-breaking reality for millions of Syrian families is that they don’t know where their next meal is coming from,” said U.N. World Food Programme Executive Director David Beasley. “The international community must recognize that not taking action now will inevitably lead to a catastrophic future for Syrians. They deserve our immediate and unconditional support.”

Some 12 million people in Syria – more than half the population – currently face acute food insecurity. That is 51% more than in 2019 and an additional 1.9 million are at risk of sliding into hunger. With basic meals becoming a luxury for millions, nutrition is becoming a serious issue.

Data from 2021 shows that one in eight children in Syria suffers from stunting while pregnant and nursing mothers show record levels of acute wasting. Both facts point to devastating health consequences for future generations.

Plagued by continual crises for over a decade, Syrian families have exhausted their ability to cope. As last resort measures, people are turning to extreme measures, such as child labor, early and forced marriages, and the removal of children from school.

Meanwhile, the U.N. World Food Programme’s resources are under more pressure than ever, and funding is not keeping pace with the staggering needs of people across the country. Over time, the U.N. World Food Programme has been forced to progressively reduce the size of the monthly food ration across the country. A 13% ration cut is looming this month in Northwest Syria, where people will start receiving food that translates into 1,177 kilocalories, just over half of the recommended daily intake.

The U.N. World Food Programme is 27% funded until October, with a shortfall of $595 million. Additional funding is urgently needed to continue to assist millions of people across the country. Without new funding, the U.N. World Food Programme could be forced to undertake additional drastic cuts in the coming months.

“In a year of unprecedented needs, the compounding effect of the war in Ukraine requires our donors to step in and help us avoid reducing rations or the cutting the number of people we assist,” emphasized Beasley.

Support from donors has allowed the U.N. World Food Programme to help millions of vulnerable Syrians obtain food when they have needed it most. Each month the U.N. World Food Programme distributes lifesaving food to 5.6 million people, injects around $3 million into local economy through cash-based transfers (CBT), provides fortified date bars, fresh meals and/or food vouchers to schoolchildren, and provides nutritional support to women who have recently given birth or will do soon.

“If I knew my life would end up like this, I wouldn’t have had my children; I would have saved them all this suffering,” said one mother in the western Syrian city of Hama.

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

Earthquake Hits Afghanistan

Afghan families are reeling from the deadliest earthquake to hit their country in a decade. Across the globe, millions of people are facing the aftermath of natural disasters like this. They NEED emergency relief.

Earthquake Hits Afghanistan

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