The U.S. Food for Peace program is coming to the aid of people suffering from the crisis in Cote d’Ivoire. Disputed elections in the West African nation have erupted into violence, forcing hundreds of thousands to flee their homes.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, urging an end to the conflict, stated yesterday, “Now is the time for all Ivoirians to embrace the path of peace and to unite in rebuilding Cote d’Ivoire so that future generations can enjoy the stability and prosperity that all Ivoirians deserve.”
Food for Peace is donating 4.5 million dollars to the UN World Food Programme (WFP) relief mission in Cote d’Ivoire. WFP is providing aid to those internally displaced by the fighting. A number of people have also fled Cote d’Ivoire into neighboring Liberia. Food for Peace is donating another 7.5 million to help WFP provide aid to these refugees.
The WFP relief programs remain underfunded though. Before the Food for Peace donation, WFP stated that 16 million dollars was needed to provide 6 months of food aid inside Cote d’Ivoire and another 35 million to feed the refugees in Liberia.
If no peaceful resolution is found and with an upcoming rainy season, providing food aid will become even more difficult. The international community will need to remain engaged on the crisis in Cote d’Ivoire, fighting hunger and building peace.
Food for Peace got its start during the Eisenhower administration and became a key part of American foreign policy. President Eisenhower urged nations to explore all means of using food to build peace. Food for Peace became a part of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) during the Kennedy administration.
The recent House budget dramatically slashed international food aid, including the Food for Peace program. The cuts come at a time of enormous world instability, and escalating hunger will make it much worse. Nearly 1 billion people suffer from hunger worldwide.
The World Food Program USA has set up a take action page for supporting Food for Peace and other aid programs.