US aid chief Samantha Power laments rising hunger and malnutrition on World Food Day

'The celebration of World Food Day comes at a critical time in our fight against global hunger and malnutrition.'

The Administrator of the United States Agency For International Development Samantha Power on Saturday lamented that there are millions of people hungry on World Food Day today, October 16, 2021.

She wrote, “The celebration of World Food Day comes at a critical time in our fight against global hunger and malnutrition. This year’s theme, Our Actions Are Our Future, highlights the pressing need to re-energize food security and nutrition efforts around the world.

“As we’ve witnessed in the last 18 months, conflict, COVID-19, and a warming planet have threatened years of hard-won development progress. The pandemic has pushed an estimated 97 million more people into extreme poverty, on top of the 640 million people who were already living in extreme poverty, and it has caused 13.6 million more children to suffer from wasting. In 2020, three billion people could not afford a healthy diet, and that number is expected to increase.

“Yet, we also take note of reasons for hope. In Nepal, small holder farmers rebounded and harvested larger yields than expected following the first wave of COVID-19. In Uganda and Malawi, households living in areas reached by the U.S. Government’s Feed the Future initiative were better able to maintain food security in the face of the pandemic. And in the last year, USAID with its NGO and multilateral partners provided food assistance in 59 countries and adopted new digital tools to bolster food security and identify “hot spots” that require assistance for vulnerable populations.

“The United States remains committed to ending global hunger and is taking stronger action than ever before. At the UN Food Systems Summit on September 23, President Biden pledged $10 billion to promote food systems transformation, including $5 billion for Feed the Future to expand our impact. Among other commitments, USAID announced joining a partnership with the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation and the Eleanor Crook Foundation to mobilize $100 million to address the funding gap that small and medium enterprises face in producing safe and nutritious food. We are working through international organizations as well as at the highest diplomatic levels to prevent widespread food insecurity and build resilient, unimpeded access to food, including protection for women and children caught in armed conflict.

“World Food Day is a time to recognize that we all have a part to play in ending global hunger. The actions we take right now will indeed determine our future. And the United States remains fully committed to our ultimate goal, which is to make hunger and malnutrition a distant memory.”

Chief White House Correspondent for

Simon Ateba is Chief White House Correspondent for Today News Africa. Simon covers President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, the U.S. government, the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other financial and international institutions in Washington D.C. and New York City.

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