Even before conflict erupted in Sudan in April 2023, one-third of its people were facing hunger. The effects of war are expected to leave more than 19 million people — nearly 40% of the country’s population — without enough food.
In response to increasing humanitarian needs, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), the largest humanitarian organisation in the world fighting hunger and food insecurity, activated its highest level of emergency in Sudan.
The WFP recently delivered emergency food assistance to more than 1 million people in Sudan after the eruption of the conflict between the country’s army and the Rapid Support Forces paramilitary group. Despite briefly pausing operations in Sudan following the deaths of three staff members in mid-April, the WFP has increased food distributions, reaching people in 14 out of 18 states with lifesaving assistance since resuming food distributions in early May.
“WFP is doing everything possible to deliver life-saving assistance to millions of people in Sudan and thousands more who have fled to neighbouring countries, but we cannot do it alone,” said Eddie Rowe, the WFP country director in Sudan.
The WFP is entirely funded through the voluntary contributions of donor governments, institutions, corporations and individuals. Last year, the WFP helped more than 160 million people in over 120 countries. The United States contributed more than $7.2 billion to the WFP during the same period — more than half of the WFP’s budget.
Here is some of the other work the WFP is doing around the world.
The United States recently contributed $8.7 million to help the WFP support more than 65,000 Zimbabweans living in food-insecure communities. The funds are intended to help residents during the next six months.
The money will provide food assistance to people in the WFP’s Food Assistance for Assets activities in exchange for work, and will back small-scale farming infrastructure, village savings and lending groups.
Participants receive monthly food allotments of maize meal, pulses and cooking oil for the duration of their work. Participants will also receive training on insurance and financial inclusion, as well as food processing and connecting to nearby markets.
“We are grateful to the U.S. government for its continued support in enabling vulnerable communities in Zimbabwe to withstand the negative impact of climate change and recurrent economic shocks,” said Christine Mendes, the WFP’s acting country director.
The Russian government’s unprovoked war against Ukraine has upended food production and supply lines, denying many people access to nutritious food and leaving 11 million Ukrainians without enough to eat. The war also dramatically slashed food supplies, driving up the price of food globally. Before the war, Ukraine, as one of the world’s major breadbaskets, was producing enough food to feed 400 million people a year.
The WFP is using a combination of food and cash assistance to help vulnerable people. This includes teaming up with local partners to distribute food rations near the front line and providing beneficiaries with cash transfers to accessible banks and food markets.
In addition, the program has backed efforts to reopen the Black Sea ports, and is working around the clock to get wheat grain from Ukraine to countries in need via the Black Sea.
“WFP plays a crucial role in the international community’s efforts to respond to the worsening global food security crisis, and the United States, as its largest contributor, is deeply invested in its continuing success,” U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said.