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Nations rally to food for peace effort

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The UN World Food Programme (WFP) today announced timely donations from the governments of Finland, Italy and Saudi Arabia. With the most refugees worldwide since World War II, hunger is fast escalating.

WFP relies entirely on voluntary donations from governments and the public. It's an international food for peace effort to combat world hunger.

WFP said earlier today a donation of US $ 148 million from Saudi Arabia had enabled critical food aid to be supplied in Iraq. Mohamed Diab, WFP Regional Director for the Middle East, says, "The number of people displaced by violence across Iraq is increasing at an alarming rate and access to certain areas is very difficult."

Finland is donating US $ 40 million over a period of 4 years. Pekka Haavisto, Finland’s International Development Minister, says, "An unusually difficult situation in the Middle East and in several countries in Africa have increased the need for assistance to an unprecedented level. WFP is irreplaceable in this context, and in many other humanitarian crises.”

Italy, meanwhile, has made a donation to WFP's mission in Sudan. Over 20,000 people in the conflict-torn nation will benefit. Schoolchildren in Kassala state and Red Sea State will receive school meals and take-home rations.

Italy's ambassador to Sudan, Armando Barucco, says, “The Italian Government attaches the greatest importance to girls’ education. Our own experience has shown how essential the contribution of female education is to peace, stability and development.”

With 842 million people worldwide afflicted with hunger, only an international coalition can meet the challenge. There is much work yet to be done to fight hunger. Nations are realizing more and more that it's essential for building peace.