- The United Nations food agency World Food Programme (WFP) has announced plans to increase food aid in West Africa to counter problems caused by soaring food prices.
WFP had already began operations in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Mauritania three months ago, but it now plans to provide assistance to an additional 1.4 million people in the region this year, spreading its tentacles to Liberia, Burkina Faso, and Senegal by September. The figure is below the agency's initial plans to assist an estimated 3.6 million people in West Africa in 2008.
The UN body, whose assistance aims to respond to food crisis, offshoot of increased fuel prices and poor harvest caused by droughts and floods, has appealed for additional donations to fund its battle against hunger in the region.
Guinea has become WFP's biggest new operations where an additional 600,000 people received food aid this month. Though Guinea's rural is enjoying a "lean season" as many families are surviving on cassava and mangoes, the agency is still committed to delivering food aid in the country until next harvest.
In a statement, the food agency's Regional Director for West Africa said, "WFP is taking vital steps to ensure the poorest people in West Africa are not pushed over the edge by the impact of high food prices." Thomas Yanga WFP's efforts are designed to complement the existing government responses.
Across the region, WFP is scaling up general food distribution to the worst-affected areas with record number of malnourished children, pregnant and nursing women, primary school children and people living with HIV/AIDS.
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