WFP Faces Funding Shortfall of $19 Million

By Rik Glauert 26 January 2017

RANGOON — The World Food Programme (WFP) in Burma faces a funding shortfall of US$19 million and will be unable to continue full operations by the end of next month unless it secures more funds.

Partnerships Officer at WFP Arsen Sahakyan told The Irrawaddy that the “unexpected and unplanned” needs of displaced people in northern Arakan State following security operations that begun in October 2016 had strained WFP’s Burma budgets.

By the end of January 2017, WFP will have provided aid to 23,000 of the most food-insecure people in northern Maungdaw Township as part of emergency food assistance, on top of some of the resumed regular programs in northern Arakan State.

“We simply did not anticipate that something of this scale might happen,” said Sahakyan. “We do not have funding to continue operations through to June, but are good until the end of February.”

The need for extra funds comes despite recent donations of $5 million from the United States, $1.4 million from Australia, and $1 million from Sweden.

The WFP is reaching out to partners including foreign governments and private sector donors to secure the extra funding.

Internal WFP measures to cope with the shortfall include a relocation of funds from less urgent activities to cater to the most vulnerable people in Arakan State, according to Sahakyan.

A WFP report released on Wednesday said that government restrictions on delivering aid in Shan, Kachin, and Arakan States meant that in December 2016 the WFP was only able to assist 442,938 of the 574,900 people in Burma in need of assistance.