WFP is focused on mobilizing the assistance and resources needed to reach our 100 million beneficiaries we set out to reach in 2020. Even before COVID-19, hunger needs in 2020 were expected to rise with 135 million more people facing severe hunger this year. Ongoing political instability, macro-economic fragility, droughts, and other events such as locust swarms in East Africa, pointed to further deterioration of food security.
The Famine Early Warning System Network (FEWSNet) shows that Nigeria, South Sudan, and Yemen face the risk of famine as critical levels of food insecurity could hit as soon as June, during the crucial lean season in many countries, when harvests are dormant. WFP projects 130 million more people in low-to-middle income countries will likely be driven into severe hunger this year from the socio-economic fallout the COVID-19 pandemic will bring, including heavy job losses and a drastic reduction in remittances.
WFP will seek to augment its humanitarian response wherever needed and possible and is urgently working to adapt, prioritize and scale up operations. Comprehensive country level assessments are already underway in some 40 WFP country offices and will provide WFP with a comprehensive picture of new food and assistance needs by June, as the WFP global scale-up plan is finalized.
WFP is working to support governments with food systems, social protection, and basic services - even in complex crises where WFP has historically established experience. WFP’s Medium Term Programme Framework is designed to augment this critical assistance.
Consultations with all Regional Bureaux to prepare the operationalisation of the framework in country offices continues.
WFP’s common logistics services will continue to provide the backbone for the global humanitarian COVID-19 response. In a discussion with the Atlantic Council on May 8, Executive Director, David Beasley pointed out WFP’s critical role in enabling the global response, “We don’t deliver just food. We are the humanitarian logistics coordinator for the entire United Nations.” He added, “We’re the biggest airline industry operating right now. If we weren’t already where we are, we’d have famine in many countries.” Our network of Humanitarian Response Hubs located in strategic locations around the world, along with cargo and passenger flights connecting these hubs to individual destinations, are supporting the steady flow of humanitarian and health cargo and personnel into affected areas.
Sustaining this part of the operation through 2020 will cost an estimated US$ 965 million as part of the updated Global Humanitarian Response Plan (GHRP). Adequate funding will be crucial to enable the global COVID-19 response in the world’s most fragile settings.