A United Nations food agency says it has launched new programs in 16 areas hit hardest by the global rise in food and fuel prices.
The U.N. World Food Program says the programs, costing $214 million, are aimed at stopping a full-blown hunger and nutritional crisis in the affected areas.
More than half of the money ($110 million) will be used in Ethiopia and Somalia, where drought, insecurity, and high prices have left millions dependent on food aid.
The rest will be used to feed vulnerable populations in 14 other countries and territories.
Programs vary from country to country. The WFP says they include supplemental food to pregnant women and young children, cash and voucher payments in hard-hit urban areas, and new monthly rations to the most vulnerable groups.
The full list of areas targeted by the new programs includes Djibouti, Ghana, Guinea, Haiti, Liberia, Mauritania, Mozambique, Nepal, the Palestinian territories, Pakistan, Senegal, Tajikistan, Uganda, and Yemen.
The WFP says rising food prices have nearly doubled its operating costs for this year from $3.1 billion to nearly $6 billion.
The agency says donors are helping it meet the increased needs. Saudi Arabia made a $500,000 donation to the agency earlier this year. The WFP calls the contribution "historic."