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UN food programme cuts back as $1.3b shortfall looms

Published on Feb 3, 2014 11:42 AM
 
A handout picture released by the official Syrian Arab News Agency on Jan 30, 2014, shows UNRWA staff distrubuting food supplies to the residents of Syria's besieged Yarmuk Palestinian refugee camp, south of Damascus. The UN's World Food Programme (WFP) is scaling back projects in a number of countries as it confronts a US$1 billion (S$1.28 billion) funding shortfall, with costs mounting for missions such as Syria, its director said on Monday. -- FILE PHOTO: AFP

SYDNEY (AFP) - The UN's World Food Programme (WFP) is scaling back projects in a number of countries as it confronts a US$1 billion (S$1.28 billion) funding shortfall, with costs mounting for missions such as Syria, its director said on Monday.

Ms 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 US$1 billion 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 per cent cuts in December and a further 10 per cent 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 US$40 million 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 US$800,000 and fed only 6,000, Ms Cousin said.

 
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