UN Agency Asks for More Aid

The World Food Programme has launched an emergency appeal to governments.

Keeping up with world food aid is going to cost more money according to the United Nations World Food Programme. The agency has launched an emergency appeal to governments to donate at least $500 million in the next four weeks in response to rising food costs.

The WFP is responsible for relieving hunger, and said in its letter to donor countries that if more money doesn't arrive by May 1, the group may have to cut rations of those in need. The letter was obtained by the Financial Times and was sent to donor countries during the Easter holiday.

The agency's funding gap is reported to be as high as $700 million after a 20% rise in food costs in the past three weeks, the rise in oil above $100 per barrel and a surge in shipping costs.

The United States is the leading donor to WFP at $1.1 billion last year - mostly in food shipments. The European Union has provided $250 million and Canada has provided $160 million.

According to the Financial Times report, the WFP budget has grown from $1.7 billion in 2000 to $3.4 billion this year - provided that emergency $500 million arrives.

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