Appropriations and the Democratic Republic of Congo
As Congress begins to reach a conclusion on the FY14 budget deal, WFP USA stresses the need for adequate funding for critical food security accounts in the Agriculture Appropriations and State, Foreign Operations Appropriations Bills. Cuts to food security programs threaten stability on the ground, and leave families hungry and vulnerable.
In the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), six in ten families are food insecure -- a number that has doubled in just the past two years. The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) is facing a funding crisis for DRC operations, and has scaled back food assistance. More than 500,000 food-insecure and displaced people in the DRC will be affected by WFP funding shortages. “A suspension, even a reduction, of humanitarian assistance could seriously compromise our long-standing investment in improving food security, restoring livelihoods, and building resilience,” explains WFP Representative Martin Ohlsen. Funding shortages in the DRC underscore how essential U.S. Government support is for hungry families around the world.
On Wednesday, December 11th, WFP USA honored Senator Robert J. Dole at our 12th Annual McGovern-Dole Leadership Award ceremony. Senator Dole championed the McGovern-Dole Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program, which has fed more than 22 million school children in 41 countries. By distributing essential school meals, McGovern-Dole has boosted school attendance by about 14% overall, and by 17% for girls.
Vice President Joe Biden presented Senator Dole with the Leadership Award, saying, “I think he exposed for the first time the long-term consequences of children now having the right nutrition.”
Earlier this month, WFP USA Board Chairman Hunter Biden and WFP President and CEO Rick Leach traveled to the Philippines, where they visited Tacloban and Guiuan, two cities devastated by Typhoon Haiyan. Leach and Biden said they were struck not only by the typhoon's destruction, but also by the resilience of the storm's survivors, who are just beginning to rebuild their communities and their lives.
Emergency food assistance continues to be a top priority for communities affected by Typhoon Haiyan. The need is great, but food distribution is increasing. Since the start of the operation, WFP has assisted about 3 million people, dispatching more than 11 million pounds of rice and more than 385,000 pounds of high-energy biscuits.
"While the physical damage is unimaginable and the personal toll heartbreaking, the Filipino people's resilience and community spirit is much stronger than the winds and surge of the typhoon."
-- World Food Program USA's CEO, Rick Leach, after arriving in the Philippines this past weekend.
"We've just landed and what is amazing is the level of devastation. I didn't actually fully appreciate it from the pictures and what you see on TV. But these people are smiling... I'm always uplifted when I come to places like this because the level of humanity is just overwhelming."
-- World Food Program USA's Board Chairman, Hunter Biden, on arriving in the Philippines.
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