Hunger is attacking Iraq, Afghanistan, Sudan, and many other countries around the globe. The United Nations World Food Programme releases a weekly report called Global Hunger Hotspots highlighting numerous countries struggling against food insecurity.
In Afghanistan, the World Food Programme (WFP) has been distributing aid as part of its "High Food Price Mitigation intervention" plan. Hunger and poverty have long been a crisis in Afghanistan, with years of conflict and natural disasters causing heavy strain on the Afghan people. The recent food price surge has made even more Afghans vulnerable. Rick Corsino, World Food Programme director for Afghanistan, recently spoke about the high prices and their effect on funding operations like school feeding. Fighting in parts of the country, as well as flooding, have displaced Afghans and increased the need for emergency food aid.
The young Afghan democracy is facing many severe tests. Food is a crucial ingredient for the fledgling government to survive. Support for the World Food Programme, World Vision, and other charities operating in Afghanistan is critical.
In Iraq, there are millions of people displaced by the war and in need of aid. The World Food Programme announced it has now reached 470,000 Iraqis displaced within their own country. But many challenges remain in helping the Iraqi government deliver food to its citizens via the Public Distribution System. Displaced Iraqis have been unable to access their rations due to the government's inability to transfer the necessary paperwork.
According to WFP, the Public Distribution System "continues to face difficulty in reaching all corners of the country in a timely fashion with a complete food ration." In fact, a WFP report stated that the food basket for Iraqis under the Public Distribution System is shrinking in 2008 "from ten items to five due to a lack of financial support and increasing international food, shipping and transport prices."
The World Food Programme is working with the Iraqi government to try and overcome these difficulties. Doing so is crucial to the stability of the country. Many other Iraqi refugees have fled to Syria and Jordan. The World Food Programme is delivering aid to these refugees, but this program is underfunded.
In Darfur, Sudanese refugees are being deprived of food due to violence against humanitarian truck convoys. According to Kenro Oshidari of the WFP, "Since January, there have been 81 hijackings of our trucks. We have had two drivers killed, 41 drivers are missing and we have 55 trucks missing." The full deployment of peacekeepers within the country is desperately needed to help protect humanitarian convoys.
The Friends of the World Food Program is the U.S. agency that supports the UN World Food Programme. The Friends currently have a Darfur Emergency Appeal to help fund the humanitarian aid for the refugees. But advocates also need to contact their representatives about making sure the UNAMID peacekeepers are fully funded and deployed. This will help build international support to make sure the peacekeepers can do their job in protecting the people of Darfur and ensuring humanitarian aid can be delivered.
The Friends of the World Food Program have also started committees in numerous states to help raise awareness about global hunger. For more information about how to help these committees, please write to the Friends of the World Food Program.
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