U.S. Commitment To Early Humanitarian Response Ensures Lifeline To Millions Of The World's Hungry

Published on 18 July 2012

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) today expressed its appreciation of the United States Government’s early and strategic response to 2012’s greatest humanitarian crises and hunger hotspots.

In facing today’s increasingly complex emergencies, the flexible and timely support from the U.S. has strengthened WFP’s ability to employ the right mix of tools at the right time and pre-position lifesaving assistance before the peak of crises.

To date in 2012, U.S. contributions to WFP’s operations around the world total more than $864.5 million in cash and food,  providing urgently needed food and nutritional support to millions of the most vulnerable people in 37 countries, including children and pregnant and breastfeeding women, refugees and people suffering from drought and other natural disasters.

“The U.S. government’s commitment to expanding the use of new and effective food assistance tools means we are not only able to better respond to emergencies, but are also more effectively tackling hunger at its root by helping to build resilience among communities that face cyclical challenges to their food security,” said WFP’s Executive Director Ertharin Cousin, currently on an official trip to the United States.

“Whether it is cash contributions that support local purchases, cash and voucher activities for the urban poor, programs assisting small-scale farmers, or their commitment to preposition vital food and nutrition commodities in strategic locations before emergencies hit, we know we can count on the U.S. government for their early and flexible response.”

 The largest, most recent contribution, $108 million, will enable WFP to pre-position much of the food assistance needs in South Sudan ahead of 2013.  In addition to lifesaving food support, the U.S. contribution supports WFP agriculture and infrastructure projects, building longer-term food security in the new nation.
 The U.S. is the largest donor to WFP’s operations in Yemen where more than 5 million people, nearly one-quarter of the population, are in need of food assistance and a similar number lack access to proper diet and risk falling into severe food insecurity. Contributions totalling $24 million are supporting emergency food distributions for 1.8 million severely food-insecure people, as well as assistance to 670,000 people displaced by conflict.

The U.S. has contributed a total of $13.5 million in cash support to support WFP’s operations in Syria and neighbouring countries.  WFP’s operations aim to reach 850,000 Syrians in country and another 120,000 Syrian refugees in need of urgent food assistance. Donor support, particularly cash, is critically important as WFP is committed to assisting vulnerable people affected by the on-going events in Syria wherever and whenever possible.

 In the Sahel region of West Africa where WFP aims to reach more than 10 million people struggling to meet their most basic food needs as a result of severe drought, a combination of cash, prepositioned commodities and in-kind contributions valued at US$180 million  have facilitated quick life-saving assistance as well as longer-term planning. WFP food and nutrition safety net programs across the region– such as resilience building projects– are designed to help the most vulnerable communities withstand future drought and escape poverty.

WFP’s operations in Afghanistan have received $38million from the U.S. in support of a two-fold strategy: provide life-saving humanitarian assistance to the most vulnerable people in all 34 provinces of the country, despite intense logistical and security challenges, and use food and voucher assistance in long-term projects to help Afghans build a food secure future for themselves.

For more information please contact:
Bettina Luescher, WFP/New York, Tel. +1 646 5566909, Mob.  +1 646 8241112