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WFP works to feed millions amid record hunger, rising costs – Global issues

Operating costs for 2022 set to raise $136 million only in the region, the agency said, like acute famine has quadrupled in the past three yearswith 43 million people expected to face severe food insecurity by June.

WFP indicate this additional cost could be used to provide six million school children with a nutritious meal every day for six months, at a time when millions of families are struggling due to an unprepared food crisis caused by conflict, climate, fallout from COVID-19 pandemic, and now rising prices.

Millions of people are at risk

“Rising food and fuel prices will not only put millions at risk of starvation; they are also forcing WFP into an impossible situation where they have to take from the hungry to feed the starving,speak Chris Nikoi, West Africa Regional Manager.

Before the war in Ukraine, limited funding forced WFP to cut rations in Nigeria, Central African Republic, Chad, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Mali and Niger.

He added: “With the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, ports and suppliers unable to access shipments from the wider Black Sea are delayed or simply cancelled, affecting operations. WFP activities in West Africa.

Fear of social unrest

People in Ghana are feeling upset. Elizabeth Arhinful has a stall at Agbogbloshie market, one of the busiest shopping centers in the country. A record increase in food prices means customers are buying less.

“In August last year, for a gallon of oil, you would pay 105 Ghana cedis (about $13). But this year, less than a year later, it went up to 400 cedis (about $52),” she said recently.

Elvira Pruscini, Deputy Regional Director of WFP, warns of the potentially dire consequences of the food and nutrition crisis.

“Rising food prices will make more people go hungry. Rising food prices will actually cause food riots, political instability, social unrest, as we have seen over the last decade,” she speaks.

Food support for the villagers of Madjoari, Burkina Faso.

© WFP / Cheick Omar Bandaogo

Food support for the villagers of Madjoari, Burkina Faso.

Scaling support

WFP is scaling the response in the face of this new crisis to reach 22 million people in West Africa.

This includes eight million severe food needs across five Sahelian countries – Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali Mauritania and Niger. Support will be provided from the lean agricultural season starting in June to the post-harvest phase in October.

To meet the needs, Urgent WFP asks for an additional $951 million over the next six monthsalthough Mr. Nikoi stressed the need for more permanent solutions.

“We need to ramp up lifesaving support to limit the impact of the crisis on vulnerable families” he say.

“But this vital emergency assistance must be accompanied by long-term interventions, by strengthening national systems and community resilience, to reduce humanitarian need over time and pave the way for sustainable solutions to hunger and malnutrition.”

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