The current El Niño, which began in early 2015, has at least matched the strongest on record, affecting the food security of a vast number of vulnerable people around the globe. The current El Niño is comparable to that of 1997/98, which killed some 23,000 people, displaced hundreds of thousands, and resulted in some $45 billion in damages. WFP could be stretched operationally and financially during 2016 as the impact of El Niño translates into increased food-assistance needs across most areas of operations. This highlights the necessity of increased investment in disaster-risk reduction, early warning, climate-change adaptation and resilience building. WFP is responding with such measures as: prepositioning stocks of food, for example in cyclone-prone Madagascar and in Haiti, where earthquakes and drought wreak havoc; planning water deliveries in Lesotho where shortages are being felt; distributing high-energy biscuits as emergency food to flood victims in Somalia.
Executive Director's Videos
World Food Day WFP Appeals for Global Effort to End Conflict, Climate Change and Other Obstacles to Zero Hunger (For the Media)
MILAN – Speaking today at World Food Day events in Italy, Ertharin Cousin, Executive Director of the United Nations World Food Programme, appealed to the entire global community to take action and help to ensure that the world achieves #ZeroHunger. She invited everyone to mark World Food Day by posting #ZeroHunger on social media. No one individual or organization owns #ZeroHunger, which is the goal we share and the world we want. WFP encourages people to join a new community Facebook page and switch their profile page to highlight a striking white circle representing the target of Zero Hunger. According to The State of Food Insecurity in the World 2015 report, 795 million people suffer from hunger today, down 167 million from a decade ago. To speed up progress and save countless lives and build stronger futures by 2030, it would take an annual investment of US$265 billion – about 0.3 percent of the global Gross Domestic Product. The economic benefit of ending hunger, however, is calculated to be worth about 5 percent of global GDP.
MILAN – Ertharin Cousin, Executive Director of the United Nations World Food Programme, thanked U2 lead singer and ONE co-founder Bono, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and Ireland’s Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney for their efforts to give voice and support to the world’s hungry poor. Bono and Cousin met on Sunday night at the Expo Milan 2015 special event “It Begins With Me,” hosted by the governments of Ireland and Italy, to mobilize people in the challenge to end hunger in our lifetimes and raise awareness of the need for more resources to respond to the increasing hunger needs of people fleeing conflict.
WFP Warns Lack of Access and Funding Could Create the Possibility of Famine in Yemen (For the Media)
SANA’A/ADEN - Seeing first-hand the challenges facing millions of people affected by the ongoing crisis in Yemen, the UN World Food Programme Executive Director Ertharin Cousin, warned that lack of immediate and unhindered access to people who urgently need food assistance and the shortage of funding create the possibility of famine for millions, mostly women and children already hungry in this war-torn country. During a three-day visit, Cousin, travelled to Sana’a, Amran and Aden. She met with displaced families taking refuge in school buildings, mothers and their young malnourished children at health centres and hospitals, as well as families at food distribution sites. She also held meetings with the authorities on both sides of the frontlines, WFP staff, UN sister agencies and NGO partners. WFP implores the entire global community to recognize the urgency of the Yemeni crisis. Specifically calling on those who have made commitments to expeditiously fulfil their pledges. WFP is grateful the donors who have financially contributed or pledged support to the Yemen response including Germany, the USA, DFID, the UAE and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Syrian Refugees in Lebanon Struggle to Fight Hunger as WFP Food Vouchers are Reduced (For the Media)
BEIRUT – The Executive Director of the United Nations World Food Programme Ertharin Cousin concluded a visit to Jordan and Lebanon on Thursday by calling upon the international community to continue support Syrian refugees displaced in neighbouring countries and appealing to the world not to forget this crisis.
Major funding shortfalls forced the agency to cut food assistance by up to fifty percent. During her four-day visit, Cousin met with Syrian refugees and government officials, bringing attention to the plight of millions facing extreme hardship as a result of these cuts.
Since the beginning of the year, WFP has faced critical funding shortages that forced it to reduce the level of the assistance it provides to some 1.5 million Syrian refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, Iraq and Egypt.