The World Food Program warns that reduced aid could push 24 million people to the brink of famine

The World Food Program warns that reduced aid could push 24 million people to the brink of famine

The World Food Program warned on Tuesday that cash shortages forcing it to cut rations could push another 24 million people to the brink of famine.

The UN agency said it is struggling to meet growing global needs for food aid while facing a funding gap of more than 60% this year, the highest in its history.

“For the first time, the World Food Program has seen its contributions decline while needs have been steadily increasing,” asserts a press release from an agency that was nonetheless awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2020.

This decline in contributions, which affects many UN humanitarian agencies and NGOs, could have dire consequences, with WFP experts estimating that for every 1% reduction in food aid, more than 400,000 people are at risk. At risk of falling into a food emergency.

It is the last stage immediately before famine, according to the classification approved by the United Nations.

Given the drastic cuts in food aid distributed by WFP, “an additional 24 million people could fall into a food emergency over the next 12 months, an increase of 50% from the current level.”

The head of the American organization, Cindy McCain, stressed the urgent need for additional funding.

“With record numbers of people around the world facing famine, we must increase this vital aid – not reduce it,” she stressed.

“If we do not receive the support we need to avoid further disasters, the world will undoubtedly see more conflicts, more unrest and more hunger,” she said.

‘Vital lifeline’

The World Food Program estimates that 345 million people worldwide face acute food insecurity, at level 3 or higher of the food insecurity rating of 5, known as the International Classification of Food Security.

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A total of 40 million people are currently facing a food emergency, meaning they are forced to take desperate measures to survive and risk death from malnutrition.

The organization explains that “the food aid provided by the World Food Program is a vital lifeline, and is often the only thing that separates them from famine.”

However, the agency said it has already had to make massive cuts in nearly half of its aid operations around the world, including in severe crisis areas such as Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Haiti and Syria.

In Afghanistan, where half the population is acutely food insecure, cuts by the World Food Program have deprived 8 million people of the food aid they previously received.

In July, 45% of aid recipients in Syria and a quarter of those on the World Food Program’s list in Haiti were also excluded.

The same situation is in Somalia, where 4.7 million people no longer received food aid from the UN agency last year.

Food agency experts warn of a humanitarian “vicious cycle”, where the World Food Program will be forced to help only those who are starving at the expense of those who are starving.

For Cindy McCain – the widow of former US presidential candidate and influential Senator John McCain – “We must fund emergency operations to feed the hungry today, while investing in long-term solutions that address the root causes of hunger.”

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About the Author: Hermínio Guimarães

"Introvertido premiado. Viciado em mídia social sutilmente charmoso. Praticante de zumbis. Aficionado por música irritantemente humilde."

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