Soaring Food Prices Putting U.S. Emergency Aid in Peril Supplies and Recipients Likely to Be Reduced
By Anthony Faiola Washington Post Staff Writer Saturday, March 1, 2008; A01
The U.S. government's humanitarian relief agency will significantly scale back emergency food aid to some of the world's poorest countries this year because of soaring global food prices, and the U.S. Agency for International Development is drafting plans to reduce the number of recipient nations, the amount of food provided to them, or both, officials at the agency said.
USAID officials said that a 41 percent surge in prices for wheat, corn, rice and other cereals over the past six months has generated a $120 million budget shortfall that will force the agency to reduce emergency operations. That deficit is projected to rise to $200 million by year's end. Prices have skyrocketed as more grains go to biofuel production or are consumed by such fast-emerging markets as China and India.
. . . "Look at what's happened to wheat prices alone -- they shot up 25 percent in one day last week," said Josette Sheeran, executive director of the World Food Program. "This is really the first emergency we've faced without a drought, war, natural disaster. We will have to cut the amount of people being served or the amount of food being served if we do not get more funds."
So, what's more important, starving kids or biofuel? Where are our priorities, dead children or Blackwater?
Iraq is costing us $1.5 billion a day.
That means the shortfall Josette Sheeran is wringing her hands about, the difference between what we got and what they need, amounts to 8 hrs of Iraq war funding.
Anyone who still wonders why we are losing credibility across all cultures, the breadth and width of the planet, now has an answer.