WFP is the world’s largest humanitarian organization, working to save and change the lives of 86.7 million people in 83 countries each year. WFP is among the first on the scene in an emergency, providing food and other assistance to the victims of conflict, drought, floods, earthquakes, hurricanes, crop failures and pandemics. At the same time, we keep a sharp focus on sustainable development, providing governments with the support and skills to manage food security in the long term.
WFP is funded entirely by voluntary donations, with a record US$8 billion raised in 2019 still 4.5 billion short of requirements.
Just 6.5 US cents of every dollar donated to WFP are used for overhead expenditures.
The average cost of a WFP ration is US$0.46.
WFP has more than 18,000 staff, of whom over 87 percent are field based.
In a world where we produce enough food to feed everyone, 821 million people one in nine still go to bed hungry each night.
After nearly a decade of progress, the number of hungry people has slowly increased driven by the twin scourges of conflict and climate change. One in three people suffers from some form of malnutrition, according to the latest State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2019.
Africa is the region with the highest prevalence of undernourishment, at almost 20 percent, and almost 23 percent in sub-Saharan Africa. In Latin America and the Caribbean, hunger affects less than 7 percent of the population but it is slowly increasing. In Asia, undernourishment affects 11 percent of the population. Although southern Asia saw a reduction of almost 15 percent over the past five years, it is still the sub-region with the highest number of undernourished people at almost 15 percent of the population.
Income inequality is rising in many of the countries where hunger is on the rise, making it even more difficult for poor, vulnerable or marginalized people to cope with economic slowdowns and downturns.
Regional breakdown of undernourished people
Sub-Saharan Africa: 413.3 million
South Asia: 216.4 million
East Asia and the Pacific: 47.2 million
Latin America and the Caribbean: 25.9 million
Middle East and North Africa: 18.6 million
Europe and central Asia: 7.1 million
WFP’s core themes
Emergency response* and preparedness
WFP is the frontline agency responding to emergencies caused by conflict, climate shocks, pandemics and other disasters. Our focus is also on emergency preparedness, working with partners to provide early warning and helping communities lessen the impact of looming disasters.
Stat: Each day WFP has up to 5,600 trucks, 30 ships and 100 planes on the move, delivering food and other assistance.
Climate shocks such as droughts and floods can wipe out crops, disrupt markets and destroy roads and bridges. WFP is working with governments and humanitarian partners on the frontlines, responding to an increasing number of disasters. At the same time, we take pre-emptive action which reduces the number of people needing humanitarian assistance.
Forecast-based Financing is used in ten countries to provide cash to vulnerable families, allowing them to buy food, reinforce their homes and take other steps to build resilience ahead of climate disasters. This approach was used ahead of torrential rains in Bangladesh in July 2019.
In 2018, after hurricanes Irma and Maria in the Caribbean, WFP set up an office in Barbados to support preparedness. Before Hurricane Dorian made landfall in August 2019, WFP had deployed technical experts to support a rapid needs assessment. WFP airlifted storage units, generators and prefab offices. It also provided satellite equipment to ensure connectivity, as well as fortified food.
Stat: WFP has planted 6 billion trees in partnership with FAO over the past 50 years, and restored or forested 1.4 million hectares of land since 2014.
Sustainable development is only possible in communities where malnutrition is eradicated and future generations can flourish. WFP addresses malnutrition from the earliest stages through programmes targeting the first 1,000 days from conception to a child’s second birthday. We provide access to healthy diets, targeting young children, pregnant and breastfeeding women and people living with HIV.
WFP, working with the government and NGOs, provided specialized nutritious food to 390,000 children and 185,000 pregnant and breastfeeding women under its Moderate Acute Malnutrition treatment programme in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, between January and October 2019. People displaced by insecurity were among those assisted, along with returnees to the country and those affected by Africa’s second-largest Ebola outbreak.
WFP is the largest humanitarian organization implementing school feeding. School meals improve children’s nutrition and health, while also increasing access to a potentially life-changing education. Home-grown school feeding sources food from millions of smallholder farmers, increasing their incomes and boosting local economies.
WFP and UNICEF are joining forces under a renewed commitment to millions of vulnerable children. The initiative will focus on supporting governments in adopting an integrated approach to schoolchildren’s nutrition and health, incorporating school feeding, nutrition, deworming, and water, sanitation and hygiene. The agencies will initially focus on six countries three from the Sahel (Chad, Mali and Niger) and from the Greater Horn of Africa (Ethiopia, Somalia and South Sudan).
Stat: WFP provides school meals to 16.4 million children, while 44 governments have taken over school meal programmes since 1990.
Smallholder farmers produce most of the world’s food and are critical in achieving a zero-hunger world. WFP’s support to farmers spans a range of activities to help build sustainable food systems, from business-skills training to opening up roads to markets.
Farm to Market Alliance, an alliance of six global agri-focused organizations including WFP, provides smallholder farmers with support including training in reducing post-harvest losses and in business skills. Almost 90,000 farmers in Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Zambia were involved in the agricultural season of 2018/2019 alone.
Stat: WFP connects smallholder farmers to markets in 40 countries.
WFP’s Food Assistance for Assets programme improves the prospects for long-term food securitywhile helping create conditions for peace. People receive food or cash to meet immediate food needs, which frees up their time for working on community assets or livelihood resources that can increase resilience to climate change and improve access to markets.
In western Iraq, a country where protracted conflict and the effects of climate change have taken a heavy toll on communities, WFP and its partners restored 629 km of irrigation canals, allowing access to water for farming and livestock for 11,000 households and over 20,000 hectares of land.
WFP is the largest cash provider in the humanitarian community. Cash provides better value for people and donors, allowing for increased food choices and diet diversity for beneficiaries while boosting local smallholder production, retail and the financial sector.
WFP set up the Emergency Social Safety Net programme in Turkey the world’s largest humanitarian cash programme. The EU-funded initiative has supported 1.7 million refugees living in host communities, in partnership with the Government of Turkey and the Turkish Red Crescent.
Stat: US$2.1 billion was transferred through cash, value vouchers and commodity vouchers in 2019.
Through its Country Strategic Plans, WFP is transferring its skills and knowledge to a range of public, private and civil society actors who are pivotal to sustaining national policies and programmes. We are building partners’ capacities to manage disaster risk and improve food security, while also investing in early warning and preparedness systems for climate and other threats.
WFP is training government staff in Ethiopia in the use of drones in areas such as mapping flood-risk zones and assessing damage to crops after disasters building their abilities to deploy the technology without WFP’s assistance.
In Bangladesh, we provided training to staff from the NGO Social Assistance and Rehabilitation for the Physically Vulnerable, so they could implement a community-based nutrition project.
Current highest-level emergencies
The Democratic Republic of the Congo
DRC’s emergency is especially challenging, given its combination of inter-ethnic conflict, internal displacement, a protracted Ebola epidemic, donor fatigue and huge gaps between funding and requirements. 13 million Congolese people are acutely food insecure, according to the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC). A staggering 5 million Congolese children suffer from acute malnutrition. We call on all parties to work towards peace. WFP continues its interventions in six provinces with the aim of supporting 5.1 million people with food and nutrition assistance. See also: Emergency page.
A upsurge in violence from December 2019 has forced tens of thousands of children, women and men from their homes in Borno state in northeast Nigeria, complicating an already challenging and protracted humanitarian crisis. Each month WFP provides 700,000 people with assistance including food and nutritional items. Emergency page
The Central Sahel faces rapidly escalating armed conflict, population displacement, hunger and widespread poverty all compounded by the severe effects of climate change. We are seeing a staggering rise in hunger, with 3.3 million people in need of immediate humanitarian assistance according to the latest assessments, and almost 5 million at risk. WFP provided lifesaving food and nutrition assistance to 1.4 million people in December 2019, but more support is needed. The world must step up immediate humanitarian action is essential to save lives, protect livelihoods and safeguard development gains made in recent years. Emergency page
South Sudan remains embroiled in local conflicts, while trying to rebuild after a fragile peace deal in September 2018 sought to end a deadly civil war that displaced 3.8 million people. Hunger levels are expected to dramatically worsen unless assistance is scaled up, with half the population 7.5 million people projected to need support in 2020. Devastating drought, catastrophic flooding, extreme poverty and chronic economic troubles have combined with conflict to leave people on the brink. However, WFP faces a crippling shortage of funds that threatens to jeopardize its humanitarian work in 2020. Emergency page
Almost nine years of conflict have pushed millions of Syrians into hunger and poverty and caused widespread displacement. While increasing numbers are returning, many others remain displaced and in need of support. Despite challenges, WFP provided 4.5 million people with food in December 2019. Northwestern Syria has seen extreme levels of fighting since hostilities were renewed in mid-December. In January 2020, WFP distributed ready-to-eat rations to more than 87,000 displaced people on the move in the northwest, and monthly food assistance to more than 813,000 people through its cross-border operation from Turkey. See also: Emergency page
Yemen remains the largest food security crisis in the world. Almost five years of conflict have pushed millions of Yemenis to the brink of famine. WFP reached a record 12.73 million people with food assistance in November 2019. The coordinated humanitarian response has prevented catastrophe, but if these interventions stop or are hampered, the situation is likely to deteriorate quickly. We are grateful for the support of donors but urgently need increased funding. Emergency page
WFP Global Hotspots 2020 report
This report identifies 15 critical and complex emergencies at risk of descending further into crisis without a rapid response and greater investment.
Sub-Saharan Africa dominates WFP’s analysis, with Zimbabwe, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Central Sahel region all needing immediate attention. Among other countries featured, a rapidly evolving political and social crisis in Haiti is raising alarm, while Afghanistan continues to face insecurity combined with drought, leaving millions of people uncertain of where their next meal will come from. Resources: Full report and news release.
This campaign centres on food waste and highlights simple solutions we can all take to prevent it. There is enough food to feed the world’s 7 billion people, yet one in nine people goes to bed hungry every night. One-third of food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted globally which amounts to about 1.3 billion metric tons per year. Food waste costs around US$1 trillion each year and contributes to climate change. Resources: Media messages and Insight article.
Feed our Future
Three million children die of hunger every year. ‘Feed our Future’ highlights the huge loss of potential to the world when children, families and communities don’t have the food and nutrition they need. An advertisement featuring Syrian refugees ran on cinema screens in more than 30 countries, encouraging audiences to visit wfp.org and get involved in helping to end hunger. Resources: Media messages and Insight article.
Funding in 2019
Total contributions: US$8 billion (A record)
Total budgetary needs: US$12.5 billion
Top 5 donors in 2019
USA: US$3.3 billion
Germany: US$886.5 million
United Kingdom: US698.6 million
European Commission: US$685.9 million
Saudi Arabia: US$378 million
WFP Aviation manages the only UN-mandated air transport service, the United Nations Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS). The service connects the entire humanitarian and development community to people in need, reaching more than 270 destinations among the hardest-to-reach, most remote and dangerous locations on earth. It also ensures an uninterrupted delivery of supplies when other transport is disrupted by insecurity or damaged roads or other infrastructure, and where almost no other commercial airline is flying.
UNHAS supported humanitarian responses to some of the world’s most pressing emergencies in 2019, including Cyclones Idai and Kenneth in Mozambique, the Ebola epidemic in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, destructive floods across East Africa, the humanitarian crisis in the Central Sahel region of Africa where conflict and climate extremes have combined to devastating effect, and amidst the ruinous, ongoing conflict in Yemen, where UNHAS is the only common air transport that can access the restricted skies. UNHAS transported 400,000 passengers and 3,000 metric tons of cargo in 2019, serving around 700 humanitarian agencies.
Source: The World Food Programme