The representative of the World Food Program in the Gulf Cooperation Council countries, Muhammad Yahya, stressed that the State of Kuwait is a long-term partner and strong supporter of the program’s emergency and humanitarian response activities, “and we work closely with the Kuwaiti government to provide long-term sustainable support to the most vulnerable communities around the world.”
Yahya told Kuwait News Agency (KUNA) on Tuesday, on the occasion of the program’s issuance of a special statement regarding “the lack of funding and the deteriorating level of food security globally,” that Kuwait contributed $18.8 million in 2023 to support the World Food Program’s operations in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Syria, Somalia, Sudan, Turkey, and Ukraine.
He added that, while recognizing the need for emergency support, Kuwait is also contributing to capacity-building and long-term reconstruction initiatives, as is the case in the 2023 contribution towards Syria, as its contribution was not only allocated to meet the immediate humanitarian food needs of the affected communities, but rather enabling communities to meet their own needs is An important part of long-term rehabilitation work.
He warned that the global food crisis “has reached a historic and crippling level, which poses serious threats to millions of vulnerable people around the world, as there are currently about 345 million people in the world facing acute food insecurity, including 40 million in emergency levels of hunger and are at risk of death due to poor health.” Nutrition “WFP food assistance is a vital lifeline and is often the only thing keeping them from starvation.”
Yahya explained that the World Food Program is struggling to meet global needs for food aid while facing a funding shortfall of more than 60 percent this year – the highest rate in the program’s 60-year history. He stated that for the first time ever, the program witnessed a decrease in contributions while needs increased steadily, at a time when experts in the program feared the occurrence of what he described as a humanitarian “cycle of doom,” as the World Food Program was forced to rescue only people facing famine at the expense of people suffering from Hunger.
He stated that massive reductions have been implemented in nearly half of the program’s operations, including significant reductions in hotspots such as Afghanistan, Bangladesh, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Haiti, Jordan, Palestine, South Sudan, Somalia and Syria, warning that the effects of these reductions in life-saving aid will lead to a rise in emergency levels of hunger. to higher levels.
He stated that the gap between humanitarian needs and funding available for the response is expanding steadily, and this gap is exacerbated by new conflicts and the economic downturn as one of the repercussions of the emerging coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic and the climate crisis.
“Global economic headwinds and long-term financial tightening mean that many government donors and other partners are reducing support levels, meaning a staggering deficit of more than 60 percent, the highest level ever recorded in the program’s sixty-year history,” Yahya said. .
He stated that it is no longer limited to “that we have received much less funding, but also to the fact that we need more this year, as the gap between funding needs and humanitarian needs has steadily widened and been amplified by new conflicts, global economic headwinds, and the climate crisis.”
At the same time, the global economic downturn and long-term fiscal tightening mean that many government donors and other partners are reducing support levels, he noted.
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