As the World Food Program continues its emergency airlifts to Niger, the UN agency says response to its emergency funding appeal has fallen short.
Caroline Hurford is a spokesperson for the WFP. From Rome, she spoke to English to Africa reporter Joe De Capua about the funding shortfall and relief operations.
She says, “Well, right now, we have about 43 percent of what we’re looking for. We’re looking for $57 million and we mustn’t forget that we’ve actually had to borrow from our own stock, something in the region of $20 million. So, essentially, we’re a little bit concerned at the moment because there seems to have been a dropping off in contributions being made and we’re wondering whether or not we need to send out more film crews in order to capture the footage and just remind the world that there are still huge needs out there. Because we know that the situation is costing rather more to address simply because of the fact that we’ve got this very short two month window in which to get the food to the people who need it most. In other words, we need to feed people during August and during September because in October, we hope that they will have a harvest. But because we don’t know quite the extent of that harvest we’ll obviously have to put in some safety net type mechanism so that people don’t find themselves in as dire a situation as we’ve already seen.”
The WFP airlifts of emergency food rations consisting of highly nutritious soya blend will continue until next Tuesday. In all, some 950 tons of the soya blend will be delivered. Other food is being shipped by truck from neighboring countries.