The World Food Programme (WFP) has said that the number of people in need of food assistance in the Horn of Africa would rise from the current six million to 10 million.
A statement issued in Addis Ababa by the WFP country office said the programme currently provided food assistance to six million people in Ethiopia, Kenya, Djibouti and Eastern Uganda.
“But as the impact of the drought grows, this number will rise to as much as 10 million,” the statement said. It stated that WFP would require about $477 million to address hunger needs in the East African region by the end of 2011.
“The WFP currently has a 40 per cent shortfall in funding amounting to about $190 million,” it explained. It stated that there was a need to mobilise more resources to address the needs of the hungry population across the region especially as food requirements grow, thereby making it necessary to plan for a forward-purchasing of food.
“The programme is procuring supplementary nutritious foods that are fortified with vitamins and minerals to address malnutrition among vulnerable children.”
It said while addressing emergency food needs, the WFP was using food assistance to build resilience so that communities that were affected by recurrent droughts would be better equipped to cope with periodic food insecurity.
The programme was working with national governments in the drought-affected areas and sharing the case-load of those who require food assistance. WFP, therefore, called on governments to step up their efforts proportionately and also to provide additional support as hunger needs continued to grow.