Afghanistan + 40 more

Operations and resourcing update Jul 2009

News and Press Release
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Hunger in the world is projected to reach an historic high in 2009, with 1.02 billion people going hungry every day-an increase of nearly 100 million people. The United Nations' World Food Programme is working to extend food assistance to 108 million among the poorest people in 74 countries. WFP is deeply concerned by the growing impact of the world's financial crisis on the poorest part of the world, which is causing lower incomes, increased unemployment, lower remittances and higher levels of poverty. This results in less access to food for the most vulnerable people. Without food, people revolt, migrate, or die. None of these are acceptable options.

As the world's most vulnerable are being hit by the combined effects of the global financial downturn and stubbornly high food prices in many developing world markets, WFP calls upon world leaders to remember the needs of the world's hungriest people, through continued support to WFP, which depends entirely on voluntary donations.

WFP needs to raise some US$6.7 billion to cover assessed needs in 2009, plus US$2.5 billion to ensure uninterrupted food deliveries in the first two quarters of 2010. Current donations, combined with food stocks pre-positioned in 2008, are enough to cover only half of what WFP requires to meet beneficiaries' urgent needs.

WFP's operation with the highest number of hungry poor is the PRRO in Afghanistan, with planning figures of 8.8 million people, followed by Ethiopia's PRRO (8.5 million), Sudan (5.9 million), DPRK (5.6 million) and Bangladesh (5 million). WFP's largest operation is Sudan, at a cost for 2009 of US$832 million. Ethiopia and Somalia are the other two biggest operations, requiring US$555 and US$374 million in 2009, followed by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Afghanistan, Zimbabwe and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

WFP is particularly concerned about the situation in the Horn of Africa, as seasonal rains in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia have been weak and erratic. In Ethiopia, only 50 to 70 percent of land planned for planting was sown by mid-April as farmers awaited the rains. The picture is little different in Kenya's arid and semi-arid lands, and in Somalia cattle are already reported to be dying in large numbers. Food prices remain unusually high in many parts of the Horn, stretching family resources to breaking point.

Remittances to the region - a vital support system for many - have also fallen, in large part due to the global financial crisis. WFP is providing support to 18 million people who are in desperate need of support in the Horn of Africa. The shortfall for these vital WFP activities until the end of 2009 stands at nearly US$600 million.

Since January, WFP has received some US$1.8 billion from 62 donors and sincerely thanks all its donors for their continuous and generous contributions. Some donors such as the Russian Federation, Brazil, Pakistan, Bolivia, the Republic of Korea and Jordan have already exceeded last year's contributions. Others have donated earlier this year including Belgium, Pakistan, India, Turkey, Spain, Germany, Greece, Japan, and the European Commission. WFP has been also been honoured with support from three new donors, Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Oman. About 88 percent of contributions were directed to specific projects and 12 percent were multilateral to be allocated by the Strategic Resource Allocation Committee (SRAC).

The SRAC is a recently created internal body to provide greater strategic focus on prioritization of resources. It reviews financial data to assist WFP senior managers to make allocation recommendations and decisions for the organization in a more holistic manner. The body makes recommendations to the Executive Director on the allocation of untied resources taking into account key criteria such as operational specific funding shortfalls, beneficiary coping mechanisms, pipeline breaks, funding forecasts, possibilities for leveraging and twinning, and current vulnerability data, amongst others.