food-aid-un.jpgThe UN World Food Program said today it will provide $1.2 billion in additional food aid in the 62 countries hit hardest by the crisis caused by a surge in food and fuel prices.    

“With soaring food and fuel prices, hunger is on the march and we must act now,” WFP Executive Director Josette Sheeran said in written remarks delivered today to the food summit taking place in Rome.     

“If we do not act quickly, the bottom billion will become the bottom two billion virtually  overnight as their purchasing power is cut in half due to a doubling in food and fuel prices,” said Ms. Sheeran, whose agency will provide some $5 billion to assist nearly 90 million people in 78 countries this year.   

To address the current crisis, WFP is tripling the number of people who receive food in Haiti, doubling those who will receive food in Afghanistan, and delivering more critical food aid to people in Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya.   

The three-day High-level Conference on World Food Security, hosted by the Rome-based UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), has brought together leaders from around the globe, international organizations and financial institutions to tackle the current crisis arising from the recent dramatic escalation of food prices worldwide.    

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon opened the meeting yesterday by calling on world leaders to take “bold and urgent” steps to address the crisis, including boosting food production and revitalizing agriculture to ensure long-term food security.  

(World Food Program photo by Maria Gabriela Flores)

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