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WFP: Food Donations to Africa Reduced During Tsunami Relief Effort


The World Food Program is concerned that international donors have been focusing their attention so much on the Asian tsunami disaster that their commitments to Africa have suffered a loss.

In a statement, the U.N. agency said Monday that January donations to WFP's operations in Africa dropped by 21 percent to $24 million compared with $29 million in the first month of 2004.

WFP Executive Director James Morris said the response to the earthquake-tsunami disaster in Asia demonstrated how much the world cares for millions of people facing extraordinary suffering.

But, Mr. Morris added, the challenge now is to ensure that a tsunami effect does not ripple across Africa, drawing funds away from humanitarian operations.

The World Food Program said the January donations would help feed 22 million people with critical needs in 22 countries, including Lesotho, Angola, Congo, Eritrea, Liberia, and Ivory Coast.

The agency added that while almost 100 percent of the needs of countries affected by the tsunami are being met, donations to WFP for Africa amount to just five percent of the $1.9 billion needed for the continent.

WFP also expressed concern that lack of assistance by the international community could jeopardize already complicated situations such as Sudan. The agency has an emergency operation in the country to help displaced people and refugees return to their homes and rebuild their lives.

WFP said that a recently signed deal between the Sudanese government and southern rebels to end Africa's longest-running civil war is funded at just seven-percent with a massive shortfall of $279 million.

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