UN Launches $98m Food Aid Appeal for Indonesia

JAKARTA ~ The UN’s World Food Programme (WFP) launched an appeal this week seeking US$98 million to provide food aid to nearly a million of Indonesia’s most vulnerable people for the next three years.

“Hunger is still a very real threat for too many poor Indonesians,” said WFP’s regional director for Asia, Tony Banbury, in a statement announcing the drive.

“Despite Indonesia’s impressive economic gains of recent years, there are still millions of poor families who cannot provide enough food for their children,” he added.

The food aid would help some 840,000 people – “the poorest of the poor facing hunger today in Indonesia,” the statement said.

Angela VanRynbach, the WFP’s Indonesia representative, said that WFP’s present assistance to Indonesians was at risk unless new funding was secured soon.

“As of today, WFP has not received any significant contributions towards this new program, and WFP may be forced to suspend or sharply curtail its activities very soon unless more funding is pledged soon,” she warned.

According to the WFP, an estimated 13 million children under five are malnourished in Indonesia, and in some of the poorest areas of the country, such as the province of East Nusa Tenggara province, 30 percent of children under the age of five are severely malnourished.

Despite improving macroeconomic indicators, the gap between rich and poor in Indonesia remains vast, and millions more people fell into the ranks of the ultra-poor this year, the WFP statement added.

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