Friends of the World Food Programme welcomed a $1 million gift this week from Pam Omidyar to support WFP’s food aid operations in Darfur, Sudan.
"I am committed to identifying long term solutions to mass atrocities such as those in the Darfur region of Sudan
The contribution comes on the heels of an announcement that WFP has been forced to cut food rations in half in Darfur due to severe funding shortages.
“We are so grateful for this very generous gift,” said Karen Sendelback, President and CEO of Friends of the World Food Programme.
“This contribution comes at an especially critical time. WFP has recently been forced to cut food rations in Darfur and other parts of Sudan because of enormous funding shortfalls. We hope that this gift will help call attention to the substantial funding gaps WFP programs face in Sudan and motivate others to give.”
"I am committed to identifying long term solutions to mass atrocities such as those in the Darfur region of Sudan," said Pam Omidyar.
"However, while the international community pursues peace as a long term solution, we can't overlook the suffering that the people of Darfur are enduring on a daily basis. Any amount can help, especially when everyone contributes."
The situation in Darfur is one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world today. Conflict has forced millions of people from their homes, and over 3.25 million people require food aid.
In late April, WFP announced drastic cuts in food rations in Sudan due to a severe funding shortage.
As of May 11, WFP had received only 46 percent of the resources needed for its Sudan operations and faces a shortfall of over $400 million.
At this time of year, the agency should have received 80 percent of its resource requirements.
"Enormous funding gap"
Because of the enormous funding gap, starting May 2006, food rations in Darfur are being cut to half the daily minimum requirement in order to make the limited supply of food stocks last longer during the upcoming “hunger season” – the July-September period when food needs are greatest as people await the next harvest.
The current funding shortages also threaten the gains made in Darfur last year, when malnutrition rates were cut in half.
Last year, despite considerable budgetary and security challenges, WFP fed an average of 2 million people per month in Darfur, with a peak of 2.7 million people in October, just before the harvest.