ROME (AP) — A U.N. food aid agency appealed to donor countries Monday to help close a spiraling gap of at least $500 million caused by soaring food prices, saying its efforts to feed the world’s needy would otherwise have to be scaled back.
The Rome-based World Food Program said it issued the appeal in a letter to governments Thursday, urging them to be as generous as possible by May 1 to prevent it from having to cut food rations in its global operations.
The steadily climbing cost of food and fuel means that people are “simply being priced out of food the market,” the agency’s executive director, Josette Sheeran, told reporters in a conference call.
The organization, the world’s largest humanitarian agency, provides food to as many as 70 million people worldwide.
The agency estimates that in Darfur alone it needs to provide emergency food for as many as 3 million people daily. Among the most vulnerable nations is Afghanistan, with Sheeran noting that the conflict there has aggravated poverty.
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