December 19 2008
The number of people affected by hunger has hit one billion, says the World Food Program (WFP). This year alone, 40 million people were pushed into hunger by the high world food prices, thus exerting more pressure on the food assistance of the WFP.
It therefore urged the international community to step up assistance and allocate resources to urgent hunger needs, warning that the WFP would not be able to feed the world’s hungry if assistance to the program continued to dwindle.
A statement by the Executive Director of WFP, Josette Sheeran, projected that food assistance to hunger hot spots would run out by March next year.
WFP aims to feed nearly 100 million of the world hungriest people in 2009 and will need close to $5.2million to sustain its activities in Haiti, D R Congo, Kenya and Ethiopia and other hunger hot spots.
It said if one percent of what the USA and Europe proposed to rescue their economies from total collapse was geared toward supporting the activities of WFP, “developed countries would make a mark toward meeting the other urgent hunger needs”.
“As we take care of Wall Street and Main Street, we cannot forget the places that have no streets,” the statement said, noting the need “to send a bold signal of hope to the world with a human rescue package.”
The statement said as the world population climbed gradually towards nine billion by 2050, there was the risk of hunger to spiral out of control.
“The world is poised to produce trillions for financial rescue packages. What will they produce for the human rescue?” it asked.
It said hunger negatively affected children particularly in their early years and prevented children from achieving their full intellectual capacity.
“We cannot afford to lose the next generation,” the statement noted.
In Ghana, WFP in collaboration with the Ghana School Feeding Program, supports the provision of meals to primary school children and food packages for malnourished children and underweight mothers.
This year, WFP Ghana injected nearly $6million into the national economy through its local procurement program.