The United Nations World Food Program (WFP) on Friday welcomed US government contributions in June totaling $62 million to feed people confronting humanitarian crises across 13 countries in Africa and one in Asia.
Once again, the United States government has thrown a lifeline to people who desperately need assistance
Jordan Dey, Director of US Relations for WFP
US contributions will target refugees and other food-insecure populations in Kenya, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Zimbabwe, Uganda, Swaziland, Lesotho, Mozambique, Rwanda, Burundi, Liberia, Djibouti, Cameroon and Nepal.
The latest series of major donations, from the Office of Food for Peace at the US Agency for International Development (USAID), bring total American contributions to WFP operations for the year to $727.6 million. The United States is WFP’s single largest donor.
“Once again, the United States government has thrown a lifeline to people who desperately need assistance in situations of conflict, prolonged drought and poverty exacerbated by the onslaught of HIV/AIDS,” said Jordan Dey, Director of US Relations for WFP.
“These donations are deeply appreciated and enable WFP to continue its life-sustaining work.”
The biggest US donation in June, of $18.1 million, is for Democratic Republic of Congo, where long years of internal conflict have destroyed the economy and severely disrupted society, exacerbating already widespread poverty. WFP’s work provides relief for more than one million hungry, especially vulnerable internally displaced populations and returning refugees.
In Uganda, a contribution of $5.2 million will benefit people who have been displaced by ongoing conflict inside northern Uganda, as well as refugees from conflict in Southern Sudan.
As part of a South African regional initiative, $20.6 million will be distributed to Zimbabwe, Swaziland, Lesotho and Mozambique to assist populations devastated by chronic food insecurity and HIV/AIDS.
Floods in Mozambique and poor harvests in Swaziland and Zimbabwe have perpetuated a cycle of poverty and erratic economic markets, while Lesotho suffers under the third-highest HIV prevalence rate in the world. These contributions will help over three million in the region.
The Central African Republic (CAR) – the world’s 7th poorest nation – will receive a US donation of $5.6 million to address the combined effects of political instability and violence, the spread of HIV/AIDS and deep-rooted poverty. WFP provides critical assistance in a post conflict zone and will increase citizen capacity through training and literacy programs.
In Rwanda, despite significant progress in rebuilding the economy and civil society since the 1994 genocide, persistent localized drought and extreme poverty have perpetuated food insecurity. In addition, Rwanda hosts more than 46,000 refugees from DRC. The $2.7 million donation will target the refugee population, and help families in Rwanda to retain assets and rebuild their lives.
In Burundi, despite growing stability, major parts of the population continue to go hungry due to droughts, floods, and destroyed livelihoods after more than a decade of war. WFP welcomes a $2.3 million contribution that will help WFP feed the neediest.
Liberia, in the wake of over a decade of conflict and faced with over 400,000 recently returned refugees in recent years, will utilize the $1.9 million donation to feed vulnerable populations.
Kenya, meanwhile, will receive $1.8 million to support Sudanese and Somali refugees who fled conflict in their home countries. The largest refugee camps are located in arid, highly food-insecure regions of Kenya, and most refugees are completely dependent upon international assistance for their survival.
Also receiving $1.8 million for refugees is WFP’s program in the Asian nation of Nepal, one of the world’s poorest countries. WFP supports refugees who have crossed the border from Bhutan into Nepal.
Finally, WFP’s operations in Djibouti – where some 20 percent of the population is food-insecure due to poor rains over the past seven years – will receive a $900,000 donation, whereas Cameroon will receive $700,000 from the US to assist 30,000 refugees who have arrived since January 2007, fleeing the conflict in the Central African Republic.