Tag Archives: World Food Programme

How We Can Help Haiti’s Children During Drought Emergency

The news coming from Haiti is very alarming. The El Niño weather phenomenon has struck again, this time leading to a severe drought.

It’s been so bad for farmers that many have lost more than 82 percent of production. That is leaving Haitian families with low food supply. Any food that is available at markets is high priced.

See my full commentary at The Huffington Post.

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Syria Must Allow Food to Starving Civilians in Darayya

We can’t let civilians starve to death because of this tragic civil war in Syria. But right now in the town of Darayya, in Southern Syria, thousands of innocent civilians have no food or medicine.

Read my full commentary at The Huffington Post:

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Syria airdrops are “glimmer of hope” in darkness of war

United Nations advisor Jan Egeland said Thursday that the World Food Programme (WFP) made two airdrops in one day of life-saving food into the besieged Syrian city of Deir ez-Zor.

Deir ez-Zor has been under attack by the ISIS terrorist group since 2014. There have been alarming reports of food shortages and hunger in the city.

Humanitarian convoys cannot travel by road into Deir ez-Zor because of the ISIS threat. So the WFP decided to resort to airdrops to reach around 200,000 starving civilians.

To avoid being shot down by ISIS, the planes have to fly at a very high altitude. This makes the food drops much more difficult to reach the landing zone. So it took extra time for WFP to improve the consistency of the food drops.

WFP has now done 15 total airdrops of food, which are distributed on the ground by the Syrian Arab Red Crescent. Egeland said, “there are large distributions inside Deir ez-Zor and we are reaching now soon everybody with food rations for civilians in Deir ez-Zor.”

The Syrian civil war, now five years old, has caused a severe hunger crisis. Peace talks and ceasefires between the government and opposition have not held.

Humanitarian access remains limited or non-existent in many areas throughout Syria. The combatants often block aid agencies from delivering supplies. In the city of Darayya the “nutrition situation is very bad” and the UN is urging the Syrian government to let humanitarian aid through.

Over 4 million people inside Syria depend on life-saving food from the WFP. Reaching the starving civilians is the great challenge WFP and other humanitarian agencies are facing. That is why a peace settlement is so urgent.

The emergence of ISIS from the chaos of war has worsened the situation drastically. The terrorists occupy a large amount of territory and have caused widespread displacement and hunger.

There is also the challenge of funding. The airdrops, for example, are extremely costly.

Will WFP have enough funding to continue to provide food into the besieged areas by air? That is an extreme concern as noted by UN special envoy Staffan de Mistura who said “they will be requiring more funds, but I hope there will be no problem because for an operation like that, which is quite unique and can be replicated elsewhere, funds should not be a problem.”

The United States Food for Peace program is a major source of funding for the humanitarian mission. Will Congress give Food for Peace the funding it needs to meet the Syria emergency and others around the globe, especially with so many at once? Will other countries be encouraged to keep up donations?

Until the war ends, hunger will remain a powerful enemy of Syria. The international community needs to support millions of innocent Syrians who are victims of a savage civil war.

Read the full article at Examiner.

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Food for Peace aids earthquake victims in Ecuador

The United States Food for Peace program is coming to the aid of earthquake victims in Ecuador. An initial donation of half a million dollars is helping the UN World Food Programme feed those displaced by the 7.8 magnitude quake.

Food for Peace, which was started by President Dwight Eisenhower, is the main tool of the United States for feeding the hungry overseas. It’s run by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). Food for Peace is the single biggest donor to the UN World Food Programme’s relief work in over 70 nations.

The earthquake has left hundreds dead and over 25,000 people displaced. With the destruction has come food shortages.

According to a United Nations appeal for Ecuador, “Loss of livelihoods and assets, as well as damage to roads and markets in rural areas, have reduced an estimated 518,000 people ́s access to food.” As many families in Ecuador were already living in poverty, there is little for them to fall back on after a disaster.

The first Food for Peace donation is providing high energy biscuits for quick nutrients to those left hungry by the quake. In addition, food vouchers will be provided to people in areas where markets are still open.

Food for Peace officers are still assessing the damage in Ecuador and this will determine additional donations. Many impoverished families will likely need support for the coming months. There could be significant damage to agriculture in the earthquake zone.

The World Food Programme says it plans to feed at least 260,000 people in the coming months. This number could change at anytime. The food distributions will include hospitals, where food shortages have been reported.

Read the full article at Examiner.

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Ecuador: earthquake victims receive food aid, more needed

The UN World Food Programme (WFP) said Thursday that emergency food deliveries are underway in earthquake-devastated Ecuador. It’s just the beginning of a larger relief mission as the 7.8 magnitude quake has left many families with little or no supplies.

The WFP distributions started April 19 with the arrival of food kits to 8,000 people in the town of Portoviejo in Manabí province.

Good planning has helped the disaster response. WFP had disaster rations already prepared including quinoa, rice, pasta, tuna, sardines, oatmeal and lentils.

Kyungnan Park, the WFP Representative in Ecuador, explains, “WFP was ready to react swiftly to this emergency thanks to joint efforts with the Ecuadorian Government to prepare a response to the El Niño weather phenomenon, which is currently affecting the country.”

But the needs are massive and WFP is planning to feed at least 260,000 earthquake victims. Hospitals are reporting shortages. WFP is sending emergency rations to these and other locations at the request of the government.

WFP, the largest hunger relief organization, relies entirely on voluntary donations from governments, the public and the business sector.

WFP spokesperson Steve Taravella says PepsiCo Foundation just donated US $500,000 to the Ecuador relief effort. WFP is accepting donations for the emergency operation at its home page.

Read the full article at Examiner.

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WFP to aid earthquake victims in Ecuador

Following a massive 7.8 magnitude earthquake in Ecuador, the UN World Food Programme (WFP) is mobilizing to help affected families. WFP spokesperson Steve Taravella said today, “WFP is coordinating with the Ecuadorian Government and mounting an emergency response to assist the most vulnerable of the people affected.”

The earthquake, which struck the central coast on Saturday, has left hundreds dead and destroyed homes and roads. The Ecuadorian Red Cross “estimates that the numbers of affected people could reach up to 70,000 and 100,000 and with 3,000 to 5,000 needing emergency shelter.”

WFP, the largest hunger relief organization, will assist with food aid. While full needs are still being assessed, WFP will be preparing cash transfers to about 20,000 people who will be at risk of hunger because of the disaster. The charity Action Against Hunger is also deploying emergency teams and has stocks of food ready if needed.

WFP has operated in Ecuador prior to this disaster. Hunger has been a crisis for the impoverished country and poor families have little to fall back on when disaster strikes. WFP says “Around 42 percent of indigenous children under five are stunted” in Ecuador from malnutrition.

Maria Villalobos of Save the Children warns, “Children are among the worst affected by this disaster, with many being injured and left without homes.” Ecuador is also host to refugees from Colombia.

UNICEF says it has delivered 20,000 water purification tablets to the affected areas. The UN Children’s Agency, along with WFP and others, will continue to assess the needs and respond as needed.

Read the full article at Examiner.

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Food for Peace to the rescue in Iraq

Iraqis displaced by the war with ISIS are desperate for food. The United States Food for Peace program has come through again to help these war victims.

Food for Peace, run by the U.S. Agency for International Development, has just donated $ US 41 million to the UN World Food Programme (WFP) in Iraq. The WFP, the lead hunger relief agency, will distribute the Food for Peace donations.

Jane Pearce, the WFP country director in Iraq, says “I am delighted that the United States remains committed to working with WFP to deliver food assistance to Iraq’s most vulnerable populations. This generous and timely contribution from USAID’s FFP will help mitigate the suffering of many, as humanitarian needs outpace available resources.”

The donations will allow WFP to feed more than one million Iraqis for two and half months. Food vouchers and emergency rations will also be provided.

WFP relies on voluntary donations and Food for Peace is their largest source. Food for Peace, started by President Dwight Eisenhower, has fed billions since 1954. The program was started in order to send U.S. surplus food overseas to feed the hungry.

However, cuts to Food for Peace funding have been proposed in the latest presidential budget. This move is seen as a disaster by relief agencies and advocates as food aid is crucial with the record number of refugees around the world.

Read the full article at Examiner.

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My Easter Column in the Free Lance-Star newspaper

It was 70 years ago when President Harry Truman canceled the White House Easter egg roll.


He wanted to lead by example in conserving food when so many people were facing hunger

Famine threatened to claim hundreds of thousands of lives because of food shortages in Europe. World War II had left such destruction that famine was inevitable.

Read my full commentary in the Free Lance-Star.

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My Interview with Nimdoma Sherpa, Mt. Everest climber and humanitarian hero


Nimdoma Sherpa raises the Zero Hunger flag in Nepal to kick off the campaign to end world hunger (World Food Programme photo)

Nimdoma Sherpa, at just the age of 17, became the youngest woman ever to climb Mount Everest. This was just the beginning of her amazing feats. She has gone on to scale numerous mountains with her team of Nepalese climbers called the Seven Summit Women.

Never forgetting her roots, Nimdoma has become an ambassador for the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), the largest hunger relief organization. As a child growing up in Nepal, Nimdoma received school meals from WFP. She knows firsthand what a difference food and nutrition can make for a hungry child.

Last year after devastating earthquakes struck Nepal, Nimdoma and the Seven Summit Women faced their greatest challenge. The United Nations also called upon Nimdoma for a special mission for Sustainable Development Goal Number 2, Zero Hunger. Read more in the following interview with Nimdoma.


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U.S., Russia agree on humanitarian aid, ceasefire for Syria

Secretary of State John Kerry said tonight that agreement has been reached in war-torn Syria for the delivery of life-saving humanitarian aid to civilians. Kerry stated “We have agreed to accelerate and expand the delivery of humanitarian aid beginning immediately.”

Kerry made the announcement at a meeting in Munich, Germany with Russian foreign minister Sergey V. Lavrov and the International Syria Support Group, which consists of the U.S., Russia and multiple nations.

Kerry also announced a nationwide cessation of hostilities to take place within a week. The hope is for a political solution to follow, which would finally end the five-year civil war.

The fighting between the government and the opposition has killed hundreds of thousands and displaced millions. There are over 13 million Syrians in need of humanitarian aid.

But there are an estimated half a million Syrians currently blocked from receiving food, medicine and other supplies. Civilians have been starving to death as the warring sides have prevented food convoys from reaching besieged areas.

A special task force would oversee the humanitarian access throughout Syria. In a statement also released tonight the International Syria Support Group said:

sustained delivery of assistance shall begin this week by air to Deir Ez Zour and simultaneously to Fouah, Kafrayah, the besieged areas of Rural Damascus, Madaya, Mouadhimiyeh, and Kafr Batna by land, and continue as long as humanitarian needs persist. Humanitarian access to these most urgent areas will be a first step toward full, sustained, and unimpeded access throughout the country.”

Five years of civil war has caused extreme food shortages. In recent weeks increased fighting and a blockade of Aleppo has caused massive suffering among Syrians.

Jakob Kern of the World Food Programme (WFP) in Syria said this week “The situation is quite volatile and fluid in northern Aleppo with families on the move seeking safety. We are extremely concerned as access and supply routes from the north to eastern Aleppo city and surrounding areas are now cut off but we are making every effort to get enough food in place for all those in need, bringing it in through the remaining open border crossing point from Turkey.”

The WFP and other agencies need quick access to Aleppo. But it was not clear if the Syrian government offensive, backed by Russia, would cease. Russian airstrikes have been supporting the Syrian regime.

A nationwide Syria ceasefire, if implemented, can allow humanitarians to bring life-saving aid to war victims in Aleppo and elsewhere. The ceasefire would not include ISIS and other terrorist groups which have benefited from the chaos caused by the conflict.

The Syrian civil war has brought their country to ruin. Only a ceasefire, peace agreements and humanitarian aid can save Syria.

Read the full article at Examiner.

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