Friday, 18 July 2008

World food crisis drives up U.N. aid funding need

UNITED NATIONS: The global food crisis is largely responsible for driving up the United Nations' need for funding to confront disasters and emergencies around the world this year by one-fifth, the U.N. said on Wednesday.
World prices of basic foodstuffs such as wheat and rice have doubled over the last year, badly hitting poor nations that rely on food imports and sparking food riots in Africa and elsewhere.
A mid-year review meeting to assess U.N. aid funding needs for 2008 heard that the original appeal for $3.8 billion (1.9 billion pounds) announced in December and quickly revised to $5.4 billion to accommodate extra crises now stood at $6.5 billion.
The cash is needed to meet appeals for food, shelter, clean water and other necessities in 10 countries, mainly in Africa, plus the west African region.
"One of the main reasons for the rises is because of the global food crisis," U.N. humanitarian chief John Holmes told a news conference, although he said natural disasters and conflicts were also to blame.

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