Friday, June 09, 2006

Sudan's food crisis

(Source Article: Middle East must give more aid -

James Morris, director of the UN’s WFP (World Food Programme) called out for increased help from Middle East countries; the Middle East currently is only paying a fraction of the amount it should, according to Morris, as millions are facing starvation in the crisis-stuck country of Sudan. Sudan is currently the site of the agency’s largest emergency operation: the WFP is trying to feed some 6.1 million people in the African country.

Hundreds of thousands of soldiers returning home from nearly 21 years of war in the region comprise a large portion of those needing assistance in the southern part of the country. However, more than four million soldiers in the country were displaced as a result of the war, thus more are expected to return—which could result in the biggest migration of people underway at this time in the world. (see WFP director visits Sudan amid crisis -

The WFP has recently been forced to distribute 50% rations as a result of the shortage of funding for its operations. In addition to serving the nutrition needs of those hundreds of thousands of soldiers returning home, the WFP is also feeding resident communities that are currently suffering from chronic food shortages; the WFP plans to feed 2 million people per month up until the October harvest. Unfortunately, those plans will be jeopardized unless donor countries—particularly Middle Eastern countries—begin paying up their fair share. If the operation fails, then recent pacts of peace agreed to by the previously warring factions in the region may unravel, and stability in the region may be lost. (see WFP needs steady funding for Sudan -

As of June 5th, WFP’s operation in Sudan was only 49.6% funded. The Oil-rich (and lately dollar-rich) Middle East, according to Morris, should be contributing anywhere from $250-300 million to the multilateral relief efforts in Sudan—but so far they’re only contributing a paltry 10% of that amount. The US is the largest provider of humanitarian aid to the country, currently giving some $285 million.

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