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Billions Needed to Avert Unrest, Starvation - WFP
By Staff, Agencies
Without billions of dollars more to feed millions of hungry people, the world will see mass migration, destabilized countries, and starving children and adults in the next 12 to 18 months, the head of the Nobel prize-winning UN World Food Program warned Friday.
David Beasley urged China, Gulf nations, billionaires and other countries “to step up big time.”
In an interview before he hands the reins of the world’s largest humanitarian organization to US ambassador Cindy McCain next week, the former South Carolina governor said he’s “extremely worried” that WFP won’t raise about $23 billion it needs this year to help millions of needy people.
“Right at this stage, I’ll be surprised if we get 40% of it, quite frankly,” he said.
Last year, Beasley raised $14.2 billion for WFP, more than double the $6 billion in 2017, the year he took over as executive director. That money helped over 128 million people in more than 120 countries and territories, AP reported.
Beasley said he was able to convince the United States last year to increase its funding from about $3.5 billion to $7.4 billion and Germany to raise its contribution from $350 million a few years ago to $1.7 billion, but he doesn’t think they’ll do it again this year.
Other countries need to step up now, he said, starting with China, the world’s second-largest economy which gave WFP just $11 million last year.
Beasley applauded China for its success in substantially reducing hunger and poverty at home, but said it gave less than one cent per person last year compared to the United States, the world’s leading economy, which gave about $22 per person.
With high oil prices, Gulf countries can also do more, especially Muslim nations that have relations with countries in east Africa, the Sahara and elsewhere in the Middle East, he said, expressing hope they will increase contributions.
Beasley said the wealthiest billionaires made unprecedented profits during the COVID-19 pandemic, and “it’s not too much to ask some of the multibillionaires to step up and help us in the short-term crisis,” even though charity isn’t a long-term solution to the food crisis.
With $400 trillion worth of wealth on the planet, he said, there’s no reason for any child to die of starvation.
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