“34 million people on the edge of famine could be helped through ‘Famine Prevention Compact’ endorsed by G7 leaders”, says UN World Food Programme (WFP)
With the recognition of an unprecedented humanitarian crisis and more than 34 million people already facing emergency levels of food insecurity, the world leaders urgently addressed the problem at the G7 summit last weekend and endorsed a Famine Prevention Compact.
“Leaders of the G7 acknowledged the unprecedented humanitarian crisis our world faces today as more than 34 million people right now teeter on the edge of famine and endorsed a Famine Prevention Compact to urgently address the problem. Now this is a welcome move”, told WFP’s spokesperson Tomson Phiri today at a news briefing at the United Nations in Geneva. He added that “the G7 leaders have reaffirmed their commitment to provide $7 billion in vital humanitarian assistance as well as to take diplomatic action to promote humanitarian access. Now these elements of the Compact are the minimum requirements that must be actioned immediately to save lives”.
WFP and the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) called in March for $ 5.5 billion to scale-up operations and avert famine. However, as funding shortfalls continued, urgently needed food assistance in Yemen, South Sudan, Burkina Faso, Madagascar, and most recently, the Tigray region of Ethiopia could not be provided.
“For the next six months alone, the World Food Programme requires 4.5 billion dollars and the consequences of inaction and these funding shortfalls will be measured in lost lives, and setbacks in progress towards long-term development goals”, informed WFP’s Tomson Phiri.
In Burkina Faso funding gaps have forced WFP to reduce food assistance by up to 50 percent for 1,4 million people during the lean season. In Madagascar, only those facing catastrophic levels of hunger receive full rations.
“Due to funding issues, the World Food Programme has in many cases taking food from the hungry to give to the starving”, WFP’s spokesperson said. “We have done ration cuts in South Sudan and in Yemen, and these are two countries of concern”.
Insecurity is also hindering WFP operations. The Organisation struggles to reach people in countries such as the Central Sahel region, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Democratic Republic of Congo, and South Sudan.
In Tigray where 350,000 people face catastrophic levels of hunger, humanitarian access is the main challenge to WFP as armed groups are blocking the humanitarian assistance.