Venezuela joins fight against hunger in West Africa

WFP has welcomed a donation by the Government of Venezuela of US$3 million to fight hunger in Niger, Burkina Faso and Mauritania, three food-insecure countries affected by prolonged droughts and the worst locust invasion in the last 15 years.

Venezuelan vice minister for Africa, Reinaldo Bolivar, presented the donation to WFP Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean, Pedro Medrano, during an official ceremony attended by high level officials of the Venezuelan Government.

“This donation comes at a time of great peril for the people of Niger, Burkina Faso and Mauritania. It sends a strong message of solidarity to the international community to continue supporting our efforts to fight world hunger,” Medrano said.

In desperate need of food

In Niger, WFP and its partners are carrying out an emergency operation to assist 2.6 million people who are in desperate need of food, especially women and children.

About 600,000 people in Mauritania and 500,000 in Burkina Faso have also been affected by the droughts. The populations of these countries rely heavily on agriculture and livestock for their subsistence, and are thus particularly vulnerable to natural disasters.

The donation to fight hunger will be distributed as follows: US$1.5 million to Niger, US$1 million for Burkina Faso and US$500,000 for Mauritania.

Funding shortage

WFP has called on the international community to show its generosity and provide the needed funds to finance operations in Niger, where the agency still needs over US$23 million to cover its operations.

“I urge the international community to stay focused on countries like Niger that are sometimes overlooked. We still have a huge task ahead of us and we need donors to continue to come up with the kind of support –especially cash donations – that have made a large-scale intervention here possible. Our job is not yet done,” stressed Medrano.