The United States is the single largest food aid donor in the world, providing half of the world's emergency food assistance. The main vehicle for this aid is the Food for Peace Program of the U.S. Agency for International Development, or U-S-A-I-D.
Bill Hammink is the director of the Food for Peace Program. He says that U-S-A-I-D and its international partners are seeing increasing numbers of "chronically vulnerable communities" that have been weakened by war, natural disasters, and other causes.
In collaboration with affected governments, U-S-A-I-D answers needs by using such tools as the Famine Early Warning System Network. This is a database used to track climate, economic, and agricultural trends to project potential food shortages. Each week, U-S-A-I-D ships more than three-hundred-fifty-thousand metric tons of food items including peas, beans, lentils, cornmeal, wheat, and vegetable oil to more than thirty-five countries. This food aid is then distributed by the World Food Program and private nongovernmental organizations to people in need.
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Sub-Saharan Africa has received more than one billion dollars a year in emergency food assistance from the United States in recent years. Sudan's Darfur region is a major beneficiary of Food for Peace. In Darfur, over two hundred thousand people have died since 2003 as a result of government-orchestrated attacks, famine and disease, and millions of others have been displaced. Along with the World Food Program and private aid groups, Food for Peace is helping to feed some two-and-a-half million internally displaced Sudanese and more than two-hundred thousand refugees who have fled Darfur into neighboring Chad and the Central African Republic. United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has urged Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir to implement an immediate cease-fire in Darfur.
The United States, says President George W. Bush says, will not look away from the evil being perpetrated against the people of Darfur. As Food for Peace Program Director Bill Hammink says, the food aid the United States is providing to those in Darfur and elsewhere demonstrates "the giving, and benevolence, and caring of the American people."