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World Food Program Warns Only 9% of Needed $4.9 Billion Has Been Pledged To Tackle Starvation

Aug. 9, 2020 (EIRNS)—The World Food Program (WFP) on Aug. 6, issued its “External Situation Report No. 12—COVID-19 Level 3 Emergency.” The 11-page update states that “Tackling the rising tide of hunger requires the biggest humanitarian response in WFP’s history. This unprecedented crisis requires an unprecedented response. WFP is appealing for $4.9 billion until the end of 2020 to carry out this life-saving work in 83 countries. As of 5 August, WFP has received $440 million, representing only 9% of the total.”

The new report states,

“As coronavirus cases soar, Latin America has become the region most impacted by COVID-19 globally, accounting for over a quarter of the world’s cases. WFP Executive Director David Beasley, who visited Ecuador and Panama and spoke to other leaders in Latin America during the last week in July, said: ‘The COVID-19 pandemic has just been devastating in Latin America, where the economic storm clouds were already gathering. Families are struggling to buy basics like food and medicine, as livelihoods are destroyed and the number of people out of work in the region hits 44 million. It’s a deadly combination and we’ve got to act now, and we’ve got to be smart. You can’t just deal with COVID-19 by itself or hunger by itself. They must be dealt with together. If we do it right, we can save lives. If we don’t do it right, people will die.’ ”

Beasley has high praise for the many national crews already handling logistics. In July, the Canadian Air Force deployed a C-17 Globemaster cargo plane, and 31 support people to run multiple deliveries out of Panama. Mission commander Lt. Col. Adam Pentney said that he had never done such large-scale aid work so close to home. Beasley called the C-17 “a workhorse” and a “blessing.... It was a beautiful sight. It was absolutely magnificent because that’s life-saving humanitarian support. It should be what happens when the world collaborates.”

The WFP in the last few days has mobilized to stage and deliver food for Lebanon, where stores of grain were destroyed in the terrible Beirut explosion. But before the Aug. 4 explosion in Beirut, food aid was already a WFP priority in the country. The new WFP document reports that,

“The COVID-19 pandemic is making the poorest poorer, and the hungriest hungrier. WFP is mobilizing to meet the needs of up to 138 million people in 2020—including by scaling up to assist over 750,000 people with multi-purpose cash, cash-for-food or e-card assistance in Lebanon; expanding to provide cash assistance for 279,000 people in Nairobi’s informal settlements in Kenya; and providing food assistance for returnees and deportees in quarantine at border areas in Ethiopia.”

The WFP and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization gave specifics on hunger in their joint report, “FAO-WFP Early Warning Analysis of Acute Food Insecurity Hot Spots—July 2020.”

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