New York: Rising food and fuel prices globally has hit hard the United Nations agency, forcing it to seek an additional funding of $500 million from donors to enable it to continue its relief operations at the current level.
“We urge your government to act quickly on this request so that we may avoid cutting the rations for those who rely on the world to stand by them during times of abject need,” Josette Sheeran, Executive Director of the World Food Programme (WFP), said in a letter, released on Tuesday.
The price of food and fuel has risen to record levels in recent years, shooting up at an “aggressive pace” of 55% since June 2007, Sheeran noted, saying that WFP had taken many steps to mitigate the increases, including buying 80% of its food supplies in local and regional markets.
Due to the sharp price rises, however, the new estimated figure to cover this year’s projects across 78 countries is $3.4 billion, which does not include unforeseen emergency operations, the agency said.
Rising prices also mean that the world’s poorest people will have to spend a larger proportion of their income on food, the agency said.
“Our efforts will include working with governments, UN agencies and other partners to address long-term solutions while we tackle these urgent needs,” Sheeran said.
Countries where price rises are expected to have a direct impact include Zimbabwe, Eritrea, Haiti, Djibouti, Gambia, Tajikistan, Togo, Chad, Benin, Myanmar, Cameroon, Niger, Senegal, Yemen and Cuba, according to WFP.