Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


UN food programme cuts back, $1bn shortfall

03 February 2014, 11:14

Sydney - The UN's World Food Programme (WFP) is scaling back projects in a number of countries as it confronts a $1bn funding shortfall, with costs mounting for missions such as Syria, its director said on Monday.

Ertharin Cousin is in Australia as part of a tour to drum up support for the United Nations agency among donor nations and the private sector to help feed the world's hungry.

"We have about $1bn more in identified need in 2014 than we have projected revenues," the executive director told AFP.

She said rations were being slashed across programmes in nations including Haiti, Niger, Mali and Kenya, where refugees in the sprawling Dadaab camp saw 10% cuts in December and a further 10% last month "because we lack enough money to feed everybody a full meal".

Costs are mounting for complex and dangerous operations in Syria, where the WFP is aiming to reach 4.25 million hungry people at a cost of $40m a week.


An aerial mission in December involving 12 food flights from Iraq to Qamishli in the embattled Al-Hasakah region of Syria - cut off from roads for the past 12 months - cost $800 000 and fed only 6 000, Cousin said.

"Donors target their funds and when donors target their funds it means that [to fund] Syria, those same donors - it's the same pie, so they cut their funds in other places," the WFP chief said.

She said there were "hundreds of thousands of people [in Syria] that we can't reach on an ongoing basis" but stressed that where aid was getting through, "it means that we're making a difference".

Costly aerial operations were also being considered for the war-torn Central African Republic, where Cousin said more than 50 WFP trucks were held up at the border awaiting armed escort and some 800 000 internally displaced people needed food.

"We are planning to fly food next week from Cameroon into Bangui City," she said.

"Again it will cost us more and we will have fewer people that we can serve, but if we don't start next week we won't have enough food left to feed people inside Central African Republic anymore."

Cousin is pushing for more individual and private-sector donors, highlighting the UN children agency Unicef as a model. It receives more than 60% of its funding through such channels, compared with 5% for the WFP.

She is also hoping to broaden the agency's funding base beyond traditional donors such as Britain or the United States to include booming economies like China and Saudi Arabia.

"They are beginning to come, we received a donation at the end of last year from China as well as from Saudi Arabia for our programmes in Syria, but we're hopeful that they will become much like Australia, a regular reliable donor," she said.

"I'm going to all those places to tell the stories, to build the public will and to increase our support."


Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Submitted by
Wilson Ochieng
DP Ruto accuses Raila of selling ...

DP Wiliam Ruto has castigated Raila Odinga for seeking western support to fund his 2017 election bid. Read more...

Submitted by
William Korir
Peter Kenneth announces Uhuru 201...

Peter Kenneth has announced that he will support President Uhuru Kenyatta in the 2017 elections. Read more...

Submitted by
Wilon Ochieng
Labour Party to dump both Jubilee...

The Labour Party of Kenya is likely to avoid supportoing both the CORD and Jubilee factions during the 2017 General Elections. Read more...

Submitted by
William Korir
Ukambani MP quits Jubilee, to run...

An Ukambani MP has quit the Jubilee Party, citing voter apathy as his reason behind leaving the ruling coalition. Read more...

Submitted by
Victor Tinto
Government launches probe into Po...

The government has launched an inquiry into the circumstances that could have led to two National Police Service helicopter accidents in August and September this year. Read more...

Submitted by
Wilwon Ochieng
Deputy Governor's ally found with...

The EACC has recovered KES 2 million in fake currency from a close ally of Deputy Governor for Tharaka Nithi Eliud Mati. Read more...