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10/16/2014 - 15:27
Cash and Vouchers, School Meals

BAMBASI REFUGEE CAMP, Ethiopia — Sadia Mohammed is no stranger to hardship. Two years ago, she fled Sudan's conflict-torn Blue Nile State with her husband and six children.  

"Houses were burning and there was shooting," 33-year-old Sadia recalls of the fighting in her home town of Geissen. "We had to leave." 

Today, Sadia has found peace in western Ethiopia, where she is among roughly 14,000 Sudanese living at Bambasi refugee camp. Although she’s glad to have safety, Sadia and her family also live in limbo — unable, for now, to go home and restart their lives. 

Like many of the half-a-million refugees WFP supports in Ethiopia, Sadia's survival depends on monthly humanitarian assistance, along with the vegetables she grows in a small garden. Until recently, WFP's support in Ethiopia consisted entirely of food rations and nutritional supplements for the malnourished.

But today, Sadia is part of a groundbreaking shift in WFP's refugee operations here, as the agency moves from traditional food distributions to a mix of food and cash where appropriate. Now, WFP is expanding this initiative, thanks to a EUR 2.5 million (US$3.4 million) grant from the European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO). 

“Ethiopia was the first place in the world where WFP started distributing cash alongside food to refugees in camps,” says WFP’s Country Director Abdou Dieng. “And we are seeing that even these modest sums of money are improving people's diets and self-esteem. With strong support from donors like ECHO, we plan to expand the effort so all refugees in Ethiopia can benefit from both cash and food.”

Support from ECHO and Finland

With support from ECHO and Finland, the first cash-and-food pilots began in 2013 for Somali refugees at the Sheder and Aw Barre camps, in Ethiopia's eastern Somalia region, in close collaboration with the government’s Administration for Refugee and Returnee Affairs (ARRA) and the United Nations refugee agency, UNHCR. 

This May, the programme was launched for Sudanese refugees at Bambasi camp, in the western Benishangul-Gumuz region and also rolled out in Aysaita refugee camp hosting around 9,100 Eritrean refugees in the region of Afar.

“We have seen the first results, which have proven to be most effective,” says ECHO Technical Advisor Jacob Asens. “Refugees are very happy with this new initiative and their diet is more diversified – which is one of the programme’s objectives. ECHO hopes the positive initial results will be confirmed this year so that cash transfers can become a reality in refugee camps in Ethiopia in the very near future.”

At Bambasi, Sadia and participating refugees continue receiving the same amount of WFP-provided pulses, vegetable oil, fortified blended food, sugar and salt as they did before. But under the new initiative, WFP replaces roughly half the cereal ration with 100 Ethiopian Birr (about $5) per person, per month. 

"The cash allows me to buy extra food like cereals, vegetables and coffee," says Sadia. “Perhaps later on, I will buy milk and maybe meat.”

Positive results

Sadia isn't the only refugee praising the cash-and-food initiative. Many were pleased at the dietary diversity and greater food choices that cash provides. And women, especially, said the money enhanced their dignity and negotiating power with local traders. 

At Bambasi camp, Situ Nasir and her husband Indris Abdela are pleased to be able to shop at the local market—just as they did back home. "We like to be able to select our own food and take just what they need," said Situ, who says she is the main decision-maker on how the cash is spent. 

For 36-year-old mother of five Teyib Gotsi, the cash means she can buy meat and fresh vegetables, and pay for basic expenses. That's a big change from just two years ago, when the family scrounged for food, water and shelter after fleeing their home in Blue Nile State. The cash even allows Teyib to plan ahead; she will save part of it as a cushion against future hardships. 

And refugees aren’t the only ones benefitting. The money they spend is helping to boost the local economy and putting smiles on shopkeepers’ faces as well. 

This story was written thanks to inputs from Aschalew Abate from WFP Ethiopia


WFP continues to expand cash programmes in refugee camps throughout Ethiopia thanks to the support from the European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO). In Bambasi, refugees like Sadia explains what it means for them and their families.

10/16/2014 - 14:05

MONROVIA -- The village of Mawah in central Liberia has been placed in isolation by surrounding communities. With no access to nearby markets, the people there have struggled to find food. When WFP carried out a food distribution there in mid-October, Oritha’s was one of about 200 families who received a 45-day ration.
She told WFP about how Ebola is affecting her life and the life of her village.

Has your family been affected?
Yes, 11 members of my family have died. My sister, my uncle, my sister in law and others. So far my husband and children are OK. There have been 27 people who died here in Mawah. Someone else got sick a few days ago. They say it’s Ebola again. I hope it will end soon.

What precautions are you taking?
I’m very careful because my husband works in a local health clinic. When he comes home I don’t let him touch the children. First, he has to takes his clothes off and put them in chlorine. Then he has a bath. Then he can come in and eat. [story:643649,643563,642722]

What else?
We don’t have anyone come to visit. We don’t touch anyone. We wash our hands all the time. I carry this little bottle around with me. See? I mix up Dettol and chlorine and we use it on our hands. 

What are you doing to protect your children?
I keep them at home most of the time. They get really bored. The school is closed so they have nothing to do all day. Sometimes they start going crazy. When that happens I put on some music to try to calm them down. I keep telling them "Don’t touch anyone! Wash your hands!"

Is everyone here as careful as you?
Yes, everyone. Everyone is scared. Did you see today at the food distribution we all had long sleeves. Even though it was the middle of the day – very hot. We don’t want our skin to touch. When I am out and someone touches me by accident, I say “Hey! Don’t touch”. 

What have you been eating recently?
Rice. We haven’t had anything except rice. And it’s practically finished. We don’t grow many vegetables around here so we haven’t had anything else. It’s been hard. There are no fruits in season right now.

What did you eat before?
Before the quarantine, we had cassava, fruit, meat [bushmeat such as bats, monkeys and rodents –ed], fish and vegetables. But we’re not allowed to eat meat anymore and we can’t get fish because we can’t go to the market. The market’s in the next village and they say we can’t go there.

Do you have a message for the world?
Please help Liberians to eradicate Ebola. We need help. It has killed people in my family and is hurting Liberia a lot. We are suffering. That is what I would say.

Oritha Dorbor says 11 members of her extended family have died from Ebola. She’s doing her utmost to keep her children and husband safe. But since her village was put in unofficial quarantine, she has had another problem to deal with: putting food on the table for her family.

10/16/2014 - 08:50

An emergency supply of food for a family displaced by violence. A school meal for a young child, likely the only one of the day. The chance to finally sell one’s crops to a stable buyer. This is just some of the work WFP is doing that enables families and communities to build better futures. But we are not doing it alone.

[story:643665]In addition to the support we receive from governments, companies and individuals are doing their part to end hunger – because a world with zero hunger is a safer, more prosperous world for everyone. And despite the challenges of emergencies such as the Ebola outbreak flaring up around the world, we are making real progress towards our goals. In fact, 200 million fewer people suffer from hunger today than in 1990.

For this World Food Day, WFP’s corporate partners banded together to raise funds and spread the word of zero hunger. Here are just a few examples of what they have been doing this October.

Unilever And Knorr

Unilever, a long-time supporter of WFP, has donated 1 million school meals to children in Kenya, Indonesia and the Philippines through its Knorr brand, and the company is encouraging employees and the general public to pledge their support for zero hunger.

Michael Kors

Following its highly successful #WatchHungerStop campaign from last year, Michael Kors is once again making it easy for customers to help feed hungry children in need: buy a watch, text a number, make an in-store donation. There are many ways one can get involved. Learn more.

Yum! Brands

Yum! Brands – the parent company of KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell – is once again rallying customers, employees and partners around the world to #PassTheRedCup on social media and raise funds for WFP and local food charities. The yearly World Hunger Relief campaign has raised more than US$185 million for the children and families that WFP serves since 2007.

Other World Food Day initiatives

Other companies making a difference this year:

  • FEED raised more than 1 million meals for WFP and Feeding America by encouraging people to host and attend fundraising dinner parties
  • DSM educated people about WFP’s role in ending hunger through a Twitter campaign 
  • MasterCard ran a social media campaign and involved employees through an internal cooking competition
  • PostNL released its Good Food Book on World Food Day; the net profits of each book sold (8 euros) will be donated to WFP
  • LG Electronics is devoting its billboard space in Times Square throughout October to highlight WFP’s efforts to end hunger

So What Did You Do This World Food Day?

While World Food Day has passed, you can still join WFP’s online community of more than a million people to stay up to date on what’s happening so you can add your voice and take the actions required to achieve a world with zero hunger. 

Join the community and make a difference today

World Food Day was on 16 October, and while several humanitarian emergencies persist, the World Food Programme (WFP) and partners are making a real difference for children, families and whole communities around the world.

10/15/2014 - 17:40

On September 17, Ambassador David Lane visited three projects in the province of Passoré: the Health Clinic of Arbollé, a lowland rice production site in Goubi, and a poultry production project in Godin. He was accompanied by representatives from FAO, WFP, and IFAD.

The Health Clinic of Arbollé organizes activities for the treatment and prevention of Moderate Acute Malnutrition (MAM) in children between 6-59 months, and pregnant and nursing women. According to the state nurse of the health clinic, Jonathon Kaboré, 10.4 percent of children from 6 to 59 months in Arbollé suffer from MAM. Thanks to support from WFP, pregnant and nursing women and children who test positive for MAM receive food products enriched with micronutrients.

Resident Alice Kientega said that WFP assistance was invaluable for her two-year-old malnourished daughter. “My child was very sick and had lost a lot of weight, but after a few weeks of treatment, she not only gained the weight back, but she is even more adorable now and I’m very proud of her.”

Kaboré agreed. “WFP assistance has significantly improved the nutritional status of malnourished children in the area. From January to August 2014, 269 children suffering from MAM received treatment, with a recovery rate of 92%. Unfortunately, we have experienced ruptures in the food stocks, and during these periods, children could not receive their rations.”

In the village of Goubi, Ambassador David Lane and his delegation visited a rice lowland developed with funds from IFAD and support from WFP through the “Food for Work” program, in which beneficiaries receive food assistance for the development of community assets. The lowland was developed and used by 246 producers, including 105 women.

Minata Sawadogo has one of the best developed parcels and is considered an exemplary producer. “If the rains continue until October, I will be able to harvest 700 kg of rice, which is three times more than last year. With the sale of the surplus, I will be able to pay the school fees for my children and buy animals,” she said.

In Godin, the Ambassador visited a poultry production activity implemented by an FAO project aimed at improving the resilience of vulnerable households in response to the 2012 food crisis.

In the province of Yatenga, where Ambassador David Lane visited on September 18, 5,500 people, including 4,600 women, in seven villages benefit from joint projects of the three agencies that aim to reduce the vulnerability by increasing capacity to face climatic risks.

The combined activities of the three agencies in Nodin and Tangaye, with the support of local partner, “Association Training-Development-Rural Communities” (AFDR in French) highlighted the importance of the collaboration. The interventions focused on several sectors, including animal husbandry, agricultural production, production of organic manure, garden production and support for smallholders through the commercialization of their production surpluses in order to allow them to access institutional markets through WFP’s “Purchase for Progress” (P4P) program.

Martine Sawadogo, a beneficiary from Tangaye, expressed her satisfaction with the project: “Thanks to support from the three agencies, we benefit from trainings that allow us to increase our yields, pay for school fees for our children, support our spouses in the diversification of the family diet and carry out income-generating activities. If we have a better life today, it is because of the support, and on behalf of all the beneficiaries, I thank you.”

The results speak for themselves: 1,400 hectares (ha) developed, 500 ha planted for cowpea production, seven ha developed for garden activities, 24 wells dug, 360 sheep and goats purchased, 591 metric tons of cowpeas produced in 2014, and 500 tons of cowpea sold to WFP through P4P for its operations in Burkina Faso.

Before the project, the community experienced daily food insecurity that caused high malnutrition rates and illnesses. Today, food is no longer a preoccupation. Additionally, the project promoted household economic development and the malnutrition rate has dropped.

At the end of the visit, Ambassador Lane said that he was impressed with all of the projects. “The beneficiaries who receive support use it to improve their living conditions (gardening, animal husbandry, etc.), which shows that the population itself is taking responsibility. They have taken initiative: like the use of new farming techniques, or the production of compost with basic materials to produce more, improve their living conditions and reinforce their capacity for resilience, which is extremely important in the context of climate change.”

FAO, IFAD and WFP hope to find donor support in order to replicate these positive results to help the more than 1.3 million vulnerable people identified by the last joint food security evaluation conducted by WFP, FAO, the Government of Burkina Faso and FEWSNET get out of poverty.

From September 17 -18, the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations agencies in Rome, David Lane, visited projects implemented by Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and World Food Programme (WFP) in northern Burkina Faso. The site visits allowed the American diplomat, who was accompanied by a group of journalists from the region, to speak with people on the ground to hear stories about the impact that the support from the three agencies has on everyday lives.

10/15/2014 - 09:12

High up in the Ecuadorian Andes, Vanessa and her family are harvesting lettuce. Later today, she will go to a nearby town, with other members of her farmers’ association, to sell her vegetables to a local shop. The customers include other Colombian refugees who can afford to buy their groceries thanks to an innovative WFP programme made possible with EU humanitarian aid funding.

From Participant To Supplier

Vanessa fled the violent militias in Colombia to settle in the northern province of Carchi in Ecuador. Every month approximately 1,000 refugees cross the border in search of a safer life. Upon arrival Vanessa, her husband and three children, were eligible for WFP’s food assistance, which helped them through the difficult first months in their new home.

After a year, Vanessa joined a smallholder farmers’ association which benefits from the operation funded by the European Commission's Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO). Now, six years after her arrival, she has become a supplier instead of a recipient. 

Vanessa and her husband cultivate a plot of land next to their home. This has become a vital source of income for the family and everybody helps out. Together, the family grows all sorts of crops, from onions to broccoli and lettuce. With the 14 other women of her farmers’ association, Vanessa sells her vegetables to a local shop where newly arrived Colombian refugees can buy their groceries thanks to a different type of WFP assistance. 

Innovative Tools In The Andes

WFP provides the newly arrived refugees in Carchi with electronic cards, charged with almost €16 per household member each month. Participants are also trained in various subjects including nutrition, child care, hygiene and how to prepare a healthy family meal with local products. In total, almost 500 households in Carchi benefit from this EU funded programme.

WFP also provides electronic cards to vulnerable Ecuadorians, such as pregnant and breastfeeding women. 

Find Out More

Curious to know more about how the EU and WFP help provide family meals around the world? Check out these photos and recipes and keep an eye on @wfp_europe!

Six years ago, Vanessa arrived in Ecuador when violence threatened her family in her native Colombia.  Now she makes her living by growing food that WFP distributes to newly arrived refugees.

10/13/2014 - 18:40
Aid professionals

Freetown, Sierra Leone: When John Crisci, an Emergency Coordinator with WFP, came back last week from a field mission in Port Loko, a district about 45 miles east of Freetown, his heart was filled with bitterness and sorrow. In his 25 years of experience with WFP, Crisci had not encountered anything like the difficult circumstances he saw while conducting an assessment mission in the Petifu village.

“Last week, I witnessed Ebola firsthand in a small village, in an area which was quarantined and isolated,” he said. “What struck me most of all was that I saw two young children suffering from Ebola lying in front of the house, and the mother was there helpless.”

As a parent, Crisci thought the mother would embrace the children and comfort them while they were suffering.  However, she couldn’t do that because the risk was too high that she would contract Ebola. Instead she had to just watch them powerlessly, hoping for an ambulance to come with a medical team to help.
After several hours, the ambulance arrived and the two children were taken to the nearest holding centre in Port Loko. But it was too late. One of them lost the battle against Ebola. The other is under intensive treatment.

“I hope to see him and his parents healthy when I come back next time in this village,” Crisci said as the child was fighting for life against the Ebola virus.
Crisci’s experience is only one among hundreds of tales of Ebola since the disease became a national concern in Sierra Leone, causing the government to declare a state of emergency on 30 July 2014.

According to the World Health Organization, as of 8 October, nearly 3,000 people across the country have been infected, resulting in 930 deaths since the outbreak. Treatment and holding centres are already overwhelmed and their operational capacities are exhausted. In an effort to contain the spread of the disease, 5 out of 13 districts have been quarantined, restricting the unnecessary movement of those who have potentially been in contact with Ebola-infected people.

In response to the outbreak, the World Food Programme (WFP) is scaling up its operations to reach about 600,000 people who have been affected by the Ebola crisis. WFP food assistance helps Ebola patients get the nutrients they need for their bodies to be able to fight the virus. In the quarantined areas, WFP food ensures that people have enough to eat and do not have to leave their homes to look for food.

Beyond the food response, WFP is shifting gears and is supplying key technical assistance, particularly to medical partners, in this unprecedented health emergency. This includes construction, logistics, storage, procurement and transport. WFP is also working with humanitarian partners to boost telecommunications coverage in affected areas to ensure timely response to Ebola.

To ensure continued assistance over the next six months, WFP requires USD 24 million for its Ebola emergency operation in Sierra Leone.

Find Out More

Learn more about WFP's response to the Ebola emergency 

The unprecedented outbreak of the Ebola virus in West Africa continues to cause distress and sorrow among families. John Crisci, an experienced aid worker who has been coordinating the WFP emergency response to Ebola in Sierra Leone, tells us about an experience he has never had in his life.

10/10/2014 - 16:53

People living in the Kailahun and Kenema districts– where most of Sierra Leone’s Ebola cases have been reported - are finding it harder to feed their families than people in other parts of the country and are resorting to more desperate measure to cope, according to a new survey by the World Food Programme.  

The Sierra Leone survey is the first in a series of assessments being conducted with remote technologies in the three countries over the coming months.  


A total of 850 people across Sierra Leone were questioned about their coping strategies regarding hunger – for example did they borrow food or borrow money to buy food, were they cutting down on meals – but also more generally about their livelihoods –  were their income sources stable, were they working their farms, was the price of foods on local markets shifting.

More than 80 percent of people in the Eastern areas (Kailahun and Kenema) said they ate less expensive food, and 75 percent of them reported reducing the number of daily meals and serving smaller portions, indicating that the EVD outbreak has affected their food security.  In a comprehensive 2010 survey the Eastern districts were more food-secure than other areas, but the remote survey results show that they now have the worst food-related coping indicators in the country. 

‘We believe one of the reasons people in the East are struggling is that the rates for casual labourers are low and that seems to be driving down people’s food purchasing power,’ said Jean-Martin Bauer, a WFP food security analyst.  The results showed that even in the breadbasket areas, the main source of food was markets, rather than household’s own production.  


As Ebola has spread, many markets in rural areas have been closed. 
The use of remote technology to collect data comes as WFP reviews its operations to reduce the risks posed by the Ebola outbreak to its own staff and partners. 
A variety of technologies are being used in the three countries - from ‘robot calls’ to text message surveys where people respond by pressing the number that corresponds to their chosen option.  In Sierra Leone the survey was sent to cell phone subscribers randomly by location, they answered a series of ten text messages by pressing a number. 

“Another advantage of mobile data collection is that is it quicker than sending around teams to do face to face surveys around the country.  In a public health emergency, where the situation of communities is changing by the week, this helps WFP have more timely information to shape our response,” said Bauer. “ We will be doing this each month to track the situation as it evolves,” he added. 


WFP’s food security analysis unit is using new remote mobile phone technologies to track how households are coping in the three worst Ebola-affected countries of West Africa.

10/10/2014 - 09:34
For Companies

World Food Day is October 16, but Michael Kors is rallying support all month long to raise funds and awareness for WFP’s School Meals Programme—so more children around the world can experience the hope that comes with zero hunger and a chance at a brighter future.

The focus of the Watch Hunger Stop campaign is a new limited-edition 100 Series timepiece; for each one sold, Michael Kors will donate 100 school meals to WFP. Like last year, actress Halle Berry is helping Michael Kors raise awareness for the campaign.

Customers and fans don’t have to purchase a new watch to take part and make a difference, though; they can also:

  • Text MKHUNGER to 50555 in the United States to donate US$5 via WFPUSA

  • Enter a sweepstakes for a chance to see first-hand the impact of WFP’s School Meals Programme

  • Visit a store on the 16th and get a free t-shirt, then post a pic with #WatchHungerStop

  • Add a donation to WFP on top of any purchase in October

So far, Michael Kors and customers have provided over 5 million school meals to hungry children around the world. For more information about the campaign or to sign up for the sweepstakes, go to the Michael Kors website.  

Related Information


A partner of WFP, Michael Kors launched his brand’s Watch Hunger Stop campaign for the second year in a row on October 1 to support World Food Day.

10/09/2014 - 14:51

BAMAKO – In March of 2012, a military coup d’état left a political vacuum in the North of Mali, allowing non-state armed groups to forcefully take control of several regions, impeding humanitarian access. In early April, WFP’s northern sub-offices were ransacked, six vehicles were stolen, and some 2,000 metric tonnes of food were looted from warehouses. Nearly 100 WFP staff and their dependents were subsequently evacuated from the North.

Enter the United Nations Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS)
When access by road to the North became too dangerous in Mali, UNHAS started offering humanitarian flights as far north as they could safely go. In the beginning (April 2013), that meant Mopti; but, as international forces arrived and pushed back armed groups, UNHAS began providing flights to Timbuktu, Gao and, eventually, Kidal.

Regular Flights to Irregular Destinations
In early 2014, at the request of its humanitarian clients, UNHAS added flights to what we call ‘secondary airfields’ or, perhaps more accurately, ‘bush tracks’, to the northern sites of Niafounké, Goundam, Ménaka and Douentza. With the help of WFP partner, Save the Children, two of these remote airfields (Niafounké and Goundam) were repaired and are being maintained to meet safety standards.

Flights to remote, difficult-to-reach areas not only make it possible for humanitarian workers to expand their reach, but also allow donor countries like Canada to monitor the results of their projects.

“Here in Mali, the Canadian embassy staff have used UNHAS services to travel to field sites to monitor our projects and speak with the individuals and communities reached, which is essential to ensuring that we are achieving development results.”
Marc-André Fredette, Head of Cooperation, Canadian Embassy, Mali

Helping Humanitarians Stay Safe After Tragedy
On May 29, 2014, a Norweigan Refugee Council vehicle was travelling on the road from Timbuktu to Goundam when it hit an IED. The two aid workers in the vehicle were killed as a result of the explosion. Following this terrible event, and taking into account the rising frequency of similar events, additional routes were added between Goundam and Timbuktu and between Niafounké and Timbuktu – allowing humanitarians to avoid these increasingly-dangerous roads.

Reduced Flight Schedule
In September 2014, after multiple calls for additional funding failed, UNHAS was forced to remove flights to Ménaka and Douentza from its roster and to reduce the number of planes it uses. This service reduction will have significant consequences for the humanitarian community in Mali and the people they serve – particularly in the country’s North.

“Up until now, we have been carrying about 1,000 passengers per month and this number has been on the rise,” says Eric Moussard, head of UNHAS in Mali. “With the reduced flight schedule and smaller planes, we will only be able to carry, maybe 600 or 700, maximum, per month. Basically, we are going to have to start turning people away – people who cannot do their jobs without safe access to the North by air.” he added.

Funding: 2014 and Beyond
As with all WFP funding, UNHAS is funded on a voluntary basis by member states. It recovers some costs through booking fees; however, this alone is not enough to sustain the service.

In 2014, UNHAS has been able to serve the humanitarian community in Mali thanks to generous support from Canada, the European Commission, Ireland, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Most recently, thanks to a generous contribution from the European Union, UNHAS will be able to continue at its reduced service level until the end of the year.

The humanitarian air service continues to be a vital tool – particularly for those working in Mali’s most remote and vulnerable communities. To ensure UNHAS is able to continue serving the humanitarian community in Mali next year, it requires approximately US$6 million for its 2015 budget.


In Mali, even at the best of times, poor infrastructure and washed out roads in the rainy season make access to remote communities a constant challenge for humanitarian workers. Add to that the ongoing security concerns of the past two years, including frequent rocket-fire in the North and IED (improvised explosive device) explosions on roads, and humanitarian access can become very difficult.

10/09/2014 - 11:55

WFP has launched a regional emergency operation which will provide food assistance to around 1.3 million people in the three most affected countries: Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Food is being distributed to people under medical quarantine, people under treatment, and their relatives. We are working alongside national governments, the World Health Organization (WHO) and other partners. 


The objective is to prevent a health crisis from becoming a food crisis. In the three countries, the food chain is threatened at many levels, starting with production. Farmers are leaving behind their crops and livestock as they seek areas they perceive as safer from exposure to the virus. Travel restrictions and displacements are likely to affect food prices.

The bans on eating traditional protein sources, such as bush meat, may also have implications for the food security and nutrition of people in these communities. Some of the animals that people normally hunt for food, such as bats and apes, are known to be potential carriers of the Ebola virus.

On the top of that, hundreds of households have already lost one or more of their members. The majority of Ebola victims fall within the 15-45 year bracket and are therefore frequently the main income providers. The reduction of household income coupled with the already observed food price rise will further deteriorate the food security situation.

The Spread Of Ebola

The current Ebola epidemic in West Africa began with an outbreak in Guinea in December 2013. It has since spread to Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Nigeria. It is the most severe outbreak since the discovery of the virus in 1976. Click to enlarge map.

Map of the spread of Ebola


Food Assistance

Here's what WFP is doing in the three most affected countries: 

Guinea: WFP began food distributions because of Ebola four months ago and has reached around 40,000 people (in Biffa, Fria, Télémélé, N’Zerekore, Macenta and Guekedo districts). Preparations are being made to gradually increase distributions to 350,000 people over a period of three months.

Sierra Leone: WFP is reaching Ebola patients in health centres and affected households in the epicentres of Kenema and Kailahun as well as houses that are under quarantine in 12 out of 13 districts in Sierra Leone. Up to 400,000 people in Sierra Leone are targeted under the regional response for the next 3 months.


Liberia: Between  July 1 and Sept. 4, WFP delivered food to some 67,000 people at Ebola case management centres and in quarantined communities. The distributions have covered 10 of Liberia’s 15 counties, including the West Point slum community in the capital Monrovia and the Ebola epicentre of Foya District in Liberia’s northern Lofa County. The plan is to reach 449,000 people over a three-month period.


Because of its expertise in logistics, WFP has been given the job of coordinating logistics for the entire humanitarian community involved in the Ebola response. This happens through the Logistics Cluster  -- the group of humanitarian organisations that work together to ensure services like transport and storage work well during big emergencies. The Cluster has already provided support to UN agencies, NGOs and government authorities. 

WFP also manages the UN Humanitarian Response Depots (UNHRD), which store emergency supplies that can be transported within 48 hours. UNHRD has recently sent more than US$220, 000 worth of protective gear like gloves, masks and emergency health kits for the World Health Organisation (WHO), Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and WFP from its depots in Ghana and Dubai.

In addition, it manages the UN Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS), which transports humanitarian workers and light cargo to emergencies around the world. UNHAS is currently operating in West Africa and has flown more than 100 passengers from organisations like WHO, UNICEF, MSF and WFP into and out of the Ebola-affected areas since Aug. 16. 




WFP is scaling up its response to the Ebola virus to provide assistance to around 1 million people affected by the outbreak in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, delivering food alongside the health response. WFP is also assisting the wider humanitarian community with logistics, helping other organisations to get aid workers and critical supplies into the affected areas. Donate here