SUDAN WATCH: US has spent $1 billion feeding the hungry in Darfur

Friday, May 12, 2006

US has spent $1 billion feeding the hungry in Darfur

US Department of State report by Charles W. Corey, Washington File Staff Writer, 11 May 2006. Excerpt:

Between 2004 and 2006, the United States has spent more than $1 billion feeding the hungry in the crisis-gripped Darfur region of western Sudan, and remains committed to caring for distressed people in the area, a top U.S. government official told the U.S. Congress May 11.

"While we give a lot to WFP," the United States also has given $22 million to the International Committee of the Red Cross's (ICRC's) food distribution program and $8 million to five NGOs distributing food in Darfur, Hess said.

Additionally, even though WFP has been forced to cut daily food rations by 50 percent because of a severe shortfall in funding, Hess reassured Congress that the United States will continue contributing to supplemental feeding programs to ensure that those people who are most in danger of acute malnutrition will receive the support they need.

Dworken said Food for Peace has taken three key steps to help deal with the current WFP ration shortfall:

- Moving 2,850 tons of noncereal commodities to Port Sudan from pre-positioned stockpiles in Dubai and Lake Charles, Louisiana, for distribution in Darfur;

- Diverting 4,750 tons of food to Port Sudan that was being shipped to stockpiles in Dubai; and

- Procuring 40,000 tons of cereals valued at $36 million for rapid direct shipment to Sudan (an emergency action taken by the U.S. Department of Agriculture).

Dworken said those three steps add up to about 47,600 tons of food, valued at $48 million, which should be delivered from late May through late June.

Dana Ott, acting director of the Office of Sudan Programs at USAID, told the lawmakers that Sudan is the largest program in USAID's Africa Bureau -- which she attributed to the ongoing emergency food program. "Of the $850 million we spent in Sudan last year, easily $500 million was food assistance," she said, "and then a significant other portion was humanitarian nonfood assistance."

Ott predicted that USAID's new office will be opened in Khartoum in July and said USAID also is looking forward to the construction of a new consulate compound in Juba.


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