Proposed Cuts to International Food Aid Programs Threaten Lives and Stability

The proposed cuts in U.S. international food aid announced by the House Appropriations Committee would significantly increase hunger among children and other vulnerable people and decrease the U.S. government’s ability to address instability arising from record food prices.

H.R.1, the proposed Full-Year Continuing Resolution for FY 2011, includes a 41 percent cut to P.L. 480 Title II (from $1.69 billion to $1.003 billion) a 52 percent cut to the McGovern-Dole International Food for Education Program (from $209.5 million to $100 million) and a 50 percent cut in International Disaster Assistance (from $860.7 million to $429.7 million), which provides cash to meet emergency food needs.

Cuts of this magnitude would eliminate feeding programs for about 18 million of the world’s poorest and hungriest people. Approximately 2.5 million young children in school benefiting from McGovern-Dole would lose their daily school meal and with it, their chance for a better future. Another 15 million people, primarily women and children, suffering from hunger as a result of conflict and natural disasters would lose access to the lifesaving food provided to them through Title II. In addition to undermining our ability to respond to immediate emergencies, proposed cuts to the Development Assistance account will significantly undermine our efforts to implement sustainable solutions to food crises and instability. These cuts would hit as rising food prices are making the world’s poorest people even more vulnerable to hunger and malnutrition.

Many of these cuts would occur in countries where the U.S. has vital national security and foreign policy interests, including Afghanistan, Pakistan, Sudan and Haiti. In January, food prices rose to levels even higher than those recorded during the devastating 2008 crisis, when more than 30 countries experienced protests and unrest tied to skyrocketing food prices that pushed more than 100 million additional people into hunger. As record food prices once again provide a spark for riots and instability across the Middle East and Northern Africa, we fear that these cuts will have significant consequences for global security.   

We urge the House of Representatives to maintain the longstanding bipartisan support for our vital global hunger programs. This means supporting all elements of the U.S. government’s global food security effort, including emergency food aid, agricultural development focused on poor farmers and targeted nutrition interventions for the world’s most vulnerable people. Otherwise we will see more suffering, hunger, and loss of life among millions of the world’s poorest people, as well as increased unrest and instability across the developing world.

The following organizations endorse the above statement:

Alliance to End Hunger
Bread for the World
CARE
Catholic Relief Services
Congressional Hunger Center
Mercy Corps
Partnership to Cut Hunger and Poverty in Africa
World Food Program USA
World Vision

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Contact: Kevin Anderson
(202) 530-1694, ext. 110
kanderson@wfpusa.org

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The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) is the world's largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide, reaching more than 97 million people in 80 countries with food assistance last year. World Food Program USA builds support for WFP through fundraising, advocacy and education in the United States.

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