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Bread for the World Urges Faster Approval of Food Aid

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2008-05-05 04:09:30     
Bread for the World

Rev. David Beckmann, president, Bread for the World, warned today that by the time Congress releases the $770 million in additional food aid announced by President Bush late yesterday, many more will be added to the 100 million people suffering from the current hunger crisis.

"We are grateful for the White House's request for more hunger relief funding, but our major concern is that these funds won't be available until the start of the next fiscal year, October 1," Rev. Beckmann said. "It typically takes four to six months for food aid to arrive at its destination, which will be far too late for many. Food aid is urgently needed now."

He added that the president should push hard for the immediate approval of the pending $350 million he requested last fall for this fiscal year, and replenish the $200 million worth of grains he recently released from the Bill Emerson Humanitarian Trust.

Beckmann noted that Congress is likely to merge an FY 2008 and FY 2009 supplemental appropriations next week. The new $770 million initiative breaks down as $395 million for direct food aid, $225 million for disaster assistance, and $150 million for development assistance.

"It is encouraging that the disaster assistance component includes cash to purchase food locally, bypassing the notoriously sluggish international shipping process," said Rev. Beckmann. "These efforts should start immediately in FY 2008." The U.S. Government Accountability Office estimates that 65 cents for every dollar of food aid goes to transportation costs.

In a letter to the president publicly released late last week, Rev. Beckmann said that there are two key elements needed for the president to succeed in resolving the hunger crisis: completion of a reformed farm bill, and increased funding for assistance to hungry people and agricultural development in poor parts of the world.

"This latest funding serves as a first step in helping to alleviate the global hunger crisis, but it still falls far short of what is needed," said Rev. Beckmann. Rev. Beckmann's letter is available at http://www.bread.org.

Bread for the World is a collective Christian voice urging our nation's decision makers to end hunger at home and abroad. http://www.bread.org

Specialized in: Bread - Faster Approval - Food Aid
URL: http://www.bread.org
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