Food aid cutbacks in Congo affecting hundreds of thousands: UN
Congolese army soldiers march past a tank aimed towards Kibumba Hill, which was occupied by M23 rebels, around 25kms from the provincial capital Goma, in eastern Congo in this Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013 file photo. (AP / Joseph Kay)
Published Tuesday, December 3, 2013 7:52AM EST
GENEVA -- Food aid is being cut back in Congo due to lack of funding that could affect hundreds of thousands of hungry people, the World Food Program said Tuesday.
The UN agency says its $478 million plan to feed 4.2 million people in Congo through Dec. 2015 is only 25 per cent funded, and without new funding it won't be able to help 300,000 internally displaced people in North Kivu province. The agency did not identify any countries which had failed to meet their commitments to the program.
For the past six months, WFP has cut by half its rations given to those people in North Kivu, one of the areas in eastern Congo with a myriad of armed groups blamed for killing and raping civilians.
Because of a lack of contributions to help feed the country, the WFP "is being forced to start a significant down-scale of activities in the provinces of North Kivu, South Kivu, Equateur, Kasai and Orientale," said agency spokeswoman Elisabeth Byrs, adding that cutbacks will affect school children, refugees and people in Food-for-Work programs.
One of every 10 children in the country already suffers from acute malnutrition, and 6.3 million of the country's 66 million inhabitants face hunger and are in need of food assistance, the agency said.