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09/29/2014 - 18:15

1.    WFP Uses Boats To Reach Affected Areas
Alto Baudó can only be reached by air (helicopter) or by river because there are no roads in the area. With the use of locally-leased boats, WFP is bringing food to towns affected by violence.
2.    Violence Affects Food Security
Thousands of people from indigenous and Afro-Colombian communities in the Alto Baudó Municipality of the department of Chocó are affected by forced displacements and restrictions to their freedom of mobility, due to confrontations among illegal groups in the area.

3.    Forced Displacements and Restrictions

Several forced displacements have taken place since May 2014. Restrictions of mobility in the area have affected people’s food security and livelihoods.
4.    More than 4.000 People Receive Food Assistance

WFP responded to the Government’s call for assistance, and made the first food distribution to some 4.300 people, mostly indigenous and Afro-Colombians, located in 21 communities in Alto Baudó Municipality. Approximately 85 metric tons of food – rice, lentils, cooking oil and flour— were distributed to the affected populations. A second food distribution will take place in the coming days.

Photos Copyright: WFP/Alejandro Bernal

The Government of Colombia, through the Department of Social Protection, requested WFP’s support to distribute food to some 4,300 people – mostly indigenous and Afro-Colombian communities—in the Alto Baudó Municipality in the Department of Chocó. Clashes among illegal groups in the area have forced the displacement of people and restricted their movement, affecting food security and livelihoods. WFP made a first distribution in 21 communities.

09/29/2014 - 09:25

Inspired by Rein’s work? Make a donation today that will help WFP reach another family in need of food assistance.

Want to see more photos? Follow Rein on Twitter! @ReinSkullerud

WFP’s head photographer Rein Skullerud (@ReinSkullerud) has seen hunger – and hope – in nearly every corner of the globe. Join Rein as he takes a look back at some of his most memorable photos from the past 10 years and shares what makes each so unforgettable:

09/24/2014 - 16:27

1) WFP was on the ground delivering food eight days after the official declaration of the Ebola outbreak in Guinea back on 29 March, 2014. We then fed 720 people near the epicentre. 

2) More than 180,000 people in Ebola zones have received vital food assistance to date, along with medical assistance, as part of the package of care. Family rations are 50kg rice, 9kg split peas, 4 litres of cooking oil and salt. 

3) As commercial airlines suspended flights, the United National Humanitarian Air Service, managed by WFP, began flying in aid workers on 16 August between the three affected countries.

4) WFP is providing unprecedented logistics and engineering support to the World Health Organization (WHO) in the construction of four new Ebola Treatment Units in Monrovia that will accommodate a total of 400 beds.

5) The first load of protective gear and medical supplies left one of WFP-managed UN Humanitarian Response Depots in March 2014 – since then more than US$ 707,000 of protective gear, emergency health kits and equipment have been dispatched.

On The Ground In Liberia

Life in Ebola quarantine - in pictures

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How You Can Help

WFP has been distributing food to Ebola affected areas in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone since the start of the outbreak in March 2014. Here are the top 5 facts you need to know about our Ebola response efforts.

09/24/2014 - 12:11

Name: Elizabeth Neufville (Liz)

Where are you from: Grand Kru County, Liberia

Age: 50

Marital Status: Married

Children: Six. 

Years with WFP: 10

Current Role in WFP: Programme Assistant, Programme Support Unit

What is your role/day-to-day task in the Ebola Emergency Response? Making sure beneficiaries are safely receiving their rations in the correct quality and quantities, and helping to resolve issues arising from the distribution.

What are the main challenges you face? Lack of trust between beneficiaries and local leaders, especially on the issue of fair allocation of food on ration cards or inclusion on the beneficiary list. Registration of beneficiaries and distributions of tickets are done by community members. But some people complain that their households were not enumerated or all members of their households were not accounted for. This sometimes leads to heated quarrels during distributions.

How do you feel about what is happening in Liberia and WFP's involvement in the response: I feel very sad about the number of Ebola cases and deaths; and the number of people who now have to depend on food assistance because of disruption to their regular means of livelihood. One of the biggest problems we will be facing as a country will be that of orphans. It is sad that so many parents are dying, and leaving behind young children.  I know of a family of in which eight persons died and left behind children aged ten and one.

What are your thoughts about WFP's response: My biggest concern is that my workmates and I remain safe as we provide food to everyone affected by the Ebola outbreak. I'm proud to be part of WFP because this is one organization that is actually reaching needy people with one thing they really need: food! We are at the front line of the fight against Ebola.

At a family level how are your lives changing as a result of the Ebola outbreak? I am not able to touch my children because of my role in the field. I can have no tactile contact with them. I am on edge with everyone in the house on the issues of hand-washing. Ebola has raised my stress level because of concern about my family, especially when I am away from home for long hours, making sure that beneficiaries get the food they so desperately need.

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Elizabeth Neufville is on the front line of WFP's Ebola response in Liberia. In the following interview she shares her thoughts on the challenges she faces on a day-to-day basis.

09/22/2014 - 12:26

Even if you are not an ambassador or a president or a prince, and do not have one of those badges to get you into the General Assembly, you can still watch the webcasts

Here's our United Nations General Assembly overview for this coming week.

1. Climate Summit on Tuesday

More droughts, more floods, more people hit by disaster than ever before.

  • What is WFP doing to address climate change so that poor hungry people are protected, become more resilient and can recover quickly? Tune in on Tuesday and find out! (Hint: a new chapter in R4)
  • Why are women farmers so important for the future of our hungry planet? Hear our Executive Director Ertharin Cousin on Tuesday morning. Here is the story of one woman 

2. Ebola

The whole world is wondering how fast it might spread. How can WFP help? We have been on the frontlines since Day One. 

3. Syria And Iraq

We are helping almost 7 million Syrians and Iraqis.  But there is not enough money for the Syria operations. Soon we will have to cut rations for refugees and those still inside Syria. 

4. Zero Hunger

We fight for a world with Zero Hunger. Every day, in over 70 countries. How can we reach that goal? 

5. Watch The Debates

Always wanted to see the top leaders of the world debate the big issues in the Security Council up close? 

6. Prepare Yourself For Acronyms

Alphabet soup. 

7. Opportunity

Take your social media skills to the top and use them to be part of the discussion on issues gripping the globe right now.

Traffic near the United Nations in New York has come to a standstill. A row of TV satellite trucks is lined up neatly outside the big UN building. The sharpshooters have taken up their positions on the roofs.

09/18/2014 - 08:47

Starting in October, the size of the Syria food parcel will be reduced and in neighbouring countries the number of refugees receiving food or vouchers will be scaled back.

Reached Record Amount Of People

It is a cruel irony that in recent weeks WFP has had better access inside Syria that has enabled us to reach a record 4.17 million people (in August), including those in hard-to-reach areas. But just as we have the potential to scale up, the cupboard is bare, and unless we receive new contributions we will be unable to provide people with desperately needed food.

Impact Of The Cutbacks

We asked Syrian refugees in Jordan and Lebanon, who have been receiving monthly food assistance from the World Food Programme, one question:

“What if you suddenly stopped receiving your monthly food voucher?”

Here’s what they had to say:


More Funding Needed

WFP requires US$352 million for its operations as a whole until the end of the year, including US$95 million for its work inside Syria and US$257 million to support refugees in neighbouring countries.

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How You Can Help



WFP is running out of funds for its operations in Syria and neighbouring countries and we have reached a critical point where drastic cutbacks are unavoidable. 

09/17/2014 - 17:32

The road to Barkedu is rich clay red with thigh-deep potholes and bordered by luxuriant bush.  A police checkpoint warns you that you are entering a restricted access area. There are no “Ebola is Real” placards as you see in the capital Monrovia but there are other visual reminders.

Small clusters of houses show no signs of life. Farming families left in a hurry to escape sickness. Only some are slowly returning. Fields that would normally be busy with labourers as harvest time approaches are empty. 

As we arrive in Barkedu’s wide main street, community members are gathering in the solid new meeting hall opposite the town mosque. Paramount chief Moussa Kamara addresses his people and acknowledges the first consignment of rice from WFP, delivered by the local county health teams. The community is prioritizing families who have lost members to Ebola or who have been sick and survived.

But Kamara tells us that ongoing food assistance is needed for the close to 10,000 people in the village and scattered surrounding settlements. 

“For months now we have not been farming our fields, because people have been sick, people have been dying, people have been quarantined. Our own market is closed, we cannot move to secure food and supplies are not coming in,’ Kamara said.

We update the chief on how the World Food Programme is securing new warehouse space in northern Liberia’s transport hub Voinjama and boosting its teams on the ground to meet growing needs of communities affected by Ebola.  

Among those listening to the paramount chief is Varlee Telleh, an elegant 60-year-old man, who radiates sadness. The virus claimed his wife, who died at home, as well as two sons and a daughter in law.

Varlee and his youngest son, 4-year-old Loseme, survived, while another son, who also received medical treatment, did not make it. All three spent several weeks in the one functioning Ebola Treatment Centre in the north – two and a half hours drive away in Foya. 

Varlee has not yet moved back into his family home. It has been disinfected with chlorine, but he still fears the sickness and, he admits, the memories. But he must deal with practical concerns.

“Today after this period of grieving, one of my main worries is to how to cover the loss from the fields.  I am not longer able to tend or harvest them. I wonder how I will provide for my dependents, my extended family. I worry about feeding those who are left after all this”. 

As of Sept. 8, Barkedu counted 165 deaths from Ebola –  one fifth of the country’s fatalities.

In our brief stroll through Barkedu we see houses that are boarded up and roped off. These are all where people have died, possibly, probably from Ebola. No one is taking any chances. 

The presence of survivors in Barkedu is important, as it means that Ebola is not neccessarily a death sentence yet the fear is deep and integrating survivors not always easy. Some survivors display their medical certificates but their pride is muted. Others are being engaged by the local Ebola Task Force as advocates, telling families how to prevent and cope with Ebola. 

As we pass the site of the district market, which used to draw farmers and traders from far and wide, goats nibble grass underneath the simple wooden stalls.  It is a skeleton.  

Ironically, Barkedu sits in one of the richest agricultural zones in Liberia and until the Ebola scourge, crops forecasts for farmers this year had been looking good.   

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In Lofa County, one of Liberia’s most productive farming regions, rural communities have been deeply affected by the spread of the Ebola virus.  Frances Kennedy visited Barkedu where the Ebola outbreak has claimed more than 165 lives and the community is creating its own systems to manage the Ebola threat. The World Food Programme is stepping up food assistance to this and other communities who are struggling to feed themselves.

09/16/2014 - 10:52

BANGUI: The storm hit shortly before 5 a.m. It started with loud thunder, then the banging of heavy rain on tin roofs. And believe me, when I write "heavy rain", I mean it.

In a matter of minutes, the streets in the city centre were flooded. At 7 a.m., the usually crowded city centre was empty, except for a few taxis that had failed to negotiate their way around the potholes and had subsequently fallen in them and flooded their engines. 
The water evacuation canals, currently in the process of being unclogged and repaired, were overflowing. The whole city was waiting for the storm to pass before the working day could start.
I was sitting in the car, going to the office. And then I saw him. The boy must have been no more than 10. He was standing there in the street, soaked, shivering in a ripped T-shirt, trying to catch the attention of any driver who would give him small change.

I have carried his smile with me ever since. The sad smile of a child whose name I do not know and of whom, in fact, I know nothing. People here in Bangui have various reactions when it comes to these street children, who appear more and more these days, running around in crowds on the main street. Some pity them: "Those poor kids are orphans," they say. Others just consider them as lost, undisciplined children: "Their mother has carried them in her womb during nine months for nothing," someone told me.

Well, I do not know. What I DO realize, living here, is that the C.A.R. crisis story is far from over. I have settled into a kind of routine, getting used to changing my plans constantly because of security issues. It has become perfectly normal for me to rush to buy food or go to the bank when the situation gets tense, just in case things turn worse.

Security is not the point, though. Of course it matters. Of course, when security improves, we -- the aid workers -- will be able to do more and better. Because there is so much to do.

Security matters in the emergency of the moment. But let us never forget that the Central African Republic was one of the poorest countries in the world before the crisis hit. This may be one of the reasons why it hit so hard. But this is also the reason why it will be difficult to overcome.

In Bangui, the company that provides electricity has to plan carefully. Where I live, the power goes off at about 5 p.m. and comes back sometime between 11 p.m. and midnight. Other neighbourhoods are cut from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. And there is no hope of things getting better in the near future, since the power station is so deteriorated. There have been no gas bottles in town for weeks – a problem with the supply route from Cameroon. 

These are only a few examples. And Bangui is the capital. Elsewhere in the country, many towns are simply without electricity at all.

Even when the violence stops, which may or may not happen, we the aid workers have to tell the world not to forget the people of the Central African Republic. Because they‘ll need help for a long time.

If the worlds forgets, there’ll be many more homeless kids shivering in the rain, with an easy way out of starvation: grab a weapon and go to war. 
—Donaig Le Du
(Sept. 9, 2014)

While violence and displacement of people remain the daily routine, WFP’s Communications Officer in Bangui, Donaig Le Du, shares her impressions from the field. Here's the fifth part of her series of blogs from C.A.R.

09/16/2014 - 10:32
Food Security Analysis

Well, first of all the so-called SOFI report does show progress. There’s a decline of more than 100 million in the ranks of the hungry over the last decade. That’s slightly more people than the population of the Philippines. If you go back to 1990–92,  it’s progress of 209 million – a bit more than the population of Brazil.

So that’s substantial. However, if you put it next to the target the world set itself in the Millennium Development Goals, it’s not quite enough. The MDG on hunger, agreed by world leaders in 2000, is to halve the proportion of undernourished people in the world by the end of 2015. 

Since the benchmark year of 1990, the proportion of hungry people in developing regions has dropped from 23.4 percent to 13.5 percent, just short of the 11.7 percent target. If current trends continue, it could fall a bit further -- to 12.8 percent  -- by next year. But it's still not quite enough to meet the goal.

It’s clear then that the rate of reduction needs to be accelerated. And with less than 500 days to go until the deadline to reach the Millennium Development Goals, something needs to shift, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa and Southern and Western Asia. 

What it boils down to is that ending hunger has to be placed firmly at the centre of the political agenda. Just as a side note, this is one reason why WFP is organising an event at the UN General Assembly next week: to focus attention on the Zero Hunger Challenge – the drive launched by the Secretary General to unite governments, private sector, communities and individuals behind the fight to eradicate hunger.

OK, you might say, so if the world were to commit to those extra efforts to hit the MDG target, what exactly would need to be done?

The actions needed include investments to boost food production and to improve social safety nets to lift people out of extreme poverty. In almost all cases, what’s needed are integrated strategies – in other words, we need to fit our various hunger-fighting programmes together so they support each other.

An example of this from the WFP world is when we get free school meal programmes to buy food from smallholder farmers. This helps to raise those producers’ incomes and stimulates the local supply of more-nutritious foods. The school meals help to keep children in school (a good thing in itself) while ensuring that they get at least one nutritous meal every day.

Of course, the elephant in the room in all of this is war. Conflict is a major driver of hunger and it’s no coincidence that four of WFP’s biggest food assistance operations at present are in countries wracked by conflict - Syria, Iraq, CAR and South Sudan. Here too, real political will is needed. Because if fighting stopped, agriculture and trade could resume, people could return to work, food would be more-accessible to more people.  And there would undoubtedly be a reduction in the number of hungry people. 

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OK, so the UN has produced a new report on hunger and says there are now 805 million hungry people in the world. What does that mean? Is it good? Is it bad?

09/15/2014 - 07:23
Purchase for Progress

KABUL -- Two years ago, WFP spotted a unique opportunity in Afghanistan. If we could find a way to produce High Energy Biscuits (HEBs) locally to supply our school meals programme, rather than importing them, then it might possible to introduce these fortified biscuits to the market commercially as well. This, in turn, could help tackle the country’s chronic micronutrient deficiencies.

There was clear enthusiasm from local businessmen, but little food-production capacity inside Afghanistan. So the idea emerged of bringing in a containerized factory to produce the biscuits.

In 2013, the mobile factory arrived from Verona, Italy, in a series of seven shipping containers. The idea – developed in consultation with the government – was to bring it to Afghanistan and install it the eastern province of Jalalabad, where it was to be run by a local company.

A straightforward plan – but not so simple to implement. First, transportation problems delayed the factory’s arrival in Afghanistan. Then, when it was installed, several hiccups delayed the start of production. A food technologist had to be called in and several adjustments had to be made to the machinery, but in April 2014 the first biscuits rolled off the production line.

Since then, about 250 metric tons of biscuits have been produced, using wheat flour and other local ingredients. Packaging materials are also sourced in Afghanistan, and plans are underway to include locally-produced soya flour as well.

The factory proved its value just months after production started. When heavy floods affected thousands of families across the entire north of the country, including a devastating landslide in Badakhshan province. WFP was able to quickly deliver HEBs from the Jalalabad factory to those in need. Before, we would have had to embark on the long and costly process of importing emergency food supplies. 

“At the very heart of this project is WFP’s commitment to helping Afghans achieve food security by building local capacity,” explains Djordje Vdovic, who manages the project for WFP. “The factory provides a stable income for 25 employees, and we have worked with the factory owner to introduce quality control measures that will have a knock-on effect on the production of other food. And all of it is helping to combat micronutrient deficiencies in the country. It’s a win-win proposition.”

Factory manager Dildar Khan Shinwari agrees. “My team is learning valuable skills which they can retain and pass on to others.” He explains that the high quality standards expected from WFP are helping him build a commercially viable business for the local market. “We are learning a lot from WFP, and we are beginning to see the return on our investment.”

WFP implements this project under its Purchase For Progress programme, which aims to harness the power of local economies to achieve food security. The project is generously funded by the Government of Korea, GAIN and the Government of Canada.


A biscuit factory shipped from Italy in seven containers and assembled in Afghanistan is now churning out nutrient-rich cookies for victims of humanitarian emergencies. At the same time, it is giving local farmers, millers and businessmen a chance of a brighter economic future.