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Global food crisis: "silent tsunami"

afrol News, 23 April - The Executive Director of the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has called for urgent action to tackle the "silent tsunami" of rising food prices that threatens the lives of more than 100 million with throughout the world.

"This is the new face of hunger - the millions of people who were not in the urgent hunger category six months ago but now are," Josette Sheeran said after she had addressed the British parliament in London.

She said the current crisis, the biggest challenge in the 45-year history of the UN food agency, requires urgent attention. Ms Sheeran likened the crisis to the 2004 Asian tsunami, which left a quarter of a million dead and about 10 million more destitute.

"The response calls for large-scale, high-level action by the global community, focused on emergency and longer-term solutions,” she said, urging the donor community to respond to the food crisis just like they did for the tsunami recovery. "We need that same kind of action and generosity," she said.

She revealed that her organisation has partnered with donor governments, other UN agencies, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, humanitarian and non-governmental organisations to combat the food "emergency."

The WFP needs an additional US $755 million to cover the rising cost of its existing emergency operations in the world, including those in Africa.

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) said high food prices threatened to plunge more than 100 million people into hunger, ahead of the summit of policymakers and experts being hosted by British Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

Several factors such as the increasing use of biofuels to combat climate change, rising populations, strong food demand from developing countries and droughts have been blamed on the rising food crisis.

A special meeting involving donor governments, UN agencies, international banks and other has been hosted by Britain to address the "silent tsunami."

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