The World Food Program has mobilized just a little more than half of the USD6.86 billion it needs to combat hunger and malnutrition this year. Such a funding shortfall, the United Nations agency says, prompts hard choices.
WFP raised some USD3.77 billion in 2010, down from USD4.01 billion in 2009 and USD5.05 billion in 2008.
Economic woes have squeezed budgets of donor nations, leading to dwindling donor contributions to aid organizations such as WFP.
“The year 2010 fell at a time when many of the biggest donors are facing huge economic challenges at home because of the global downturn,” WFP spokesman Greg Barrow told AlertNet from Rome. “It is a challenging environment for an agency that raises funds voluntarily.”
Given the agency’s limited funding, WFP officials on the ground must maximize their programs “without leaving the hungriest of the hungry high and dry,” Barrow said.
He added: “This puts a lot of strain on us operationally and forces us to take steps we don’t really want to take.”
Such measures include cutting food rations and focusing only on vulnerable groups such as children, pregnant and nursing mothers, the elderly, and sick people.