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UN food agency says facing worst challenge since World War II

21 February 2015 10:59

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The World Food Program (WFP) says it is struggling with its worst challenge since the Second World War because the UN body should simultaneously tackle five top-level humanitarian crises.

Large-scale operations are necessary to be carried out by the WFP and other humanitarian organizations in order to resolve the five crises — in Syria, Iraq, Central African Republic, South Sudan, and the Ebola epidemic in West Africa, said Ertharin Cousin, the head of the UN agency, in an interview with The Associated Press on Friday.

“We have more crises that require surge operations of the humanitarian community, and WFP specifically, since World War II,” Cousin added.

She further noted that the WFP is preparing itself to help four other countries — namely Yemen, Nigeria, Ukraine and Libya — which are potentially at the risk of rising political instability, and may need more food assistance.

Since the demands were higher than the donations, the WFP was compelled to cut food assistance to six million Syrians living inside and outside the crisis-hit country by 30 percent in January, the UN official stated.

She also noted that the agency immediately needs $113 million for Syria and $102 million for other parts of the Middle East in order to continue to provide food assistance during the coming months.

In December last year, the UN body was unable for several weeks to provide two million Syrian refugees with food due to a lack of resources. It resumed food assistance in January after a social media appeal that created funding.

According to Cousin, the WFP is in dire need of financial resources for its Iraq’s programs just ahead of a likely military operation by government forces to retake the country’s second-largest city, Mosul, from Takfiri ISIL terrorists.

Elsewhere in her remarks, Cousin said the WFP is currently providing food for five million people in Yemen “and it could get worse.”

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