UN cuts millions from food aid globally due to funding crisis

The United Nations had to cut food, cash payments, and aid to millions of people worldwide, including Afghanistan, due to a looming funding crisis.

“At least 38 of the 86 countries in which the World Food Program (WFP) operates have already seen aid cuts or plan to cut assistance soon—including Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen, and West Africa.” Carl Skau, deputy executive director of the World Food Program, was cited in an AP report on Saturday.

While the WFP required $20 billion in funding to deliver aid to those at risk, the agency received up to $14 in recent years, Skau added.

“The largest food and nutrition crisis in history today persists,” Skau said. “This year, 345 million people continue to be acutely food insecure while hundreds of millions of people are at risk of worsening hunger,” he added.

The impact of the shortfall is largely visible in Afghanistan.

In March, the UN Food Programme was forced to cut rations from 75% to 50% for communities facing acute hunger, and in May, 8 million people. Currently, the agency providing urgent food assistance to just 5 million people in dire need across the country.

Earlier, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Afghanistan reported that the critical funding gaps would threaten urgent humanitarian assistance across the country, particularly the remote regions. Women and children remain particularly amid the Taliban’s mounting restrictions.

The WFP senior official highlighted that conflict and insecurity, climate change, natural disasters, inflation, and mounting debt stress, are the primary drivers of acute hunger worldwide.

Amidst a slowdown in the global economy, the WFP Deputy Executive Director urged world leaders to prioritize humanitarian funding and invest in long-term solutions to conflicts, poverty, development, and other root causes of the current crisis.

The humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan continues to deteriorate, with over two-thirds of the population, approximately 28.8 million people, now requiring urgent humanitarian assistance.

Humanitarian organizations estimate that $2.26 billion is needed by the end of this year to provide essential multi-sectoral assistance to 20 million people in the country.