Congressman Al Green Initiates Bipartisan Letter to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan

Jun 22, 2006

(Washington, DC)--Today, Congressman Al Green (TX-09) sent a bipartisan letter to United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan that calls on UN member states to fully fund the World Food Programs (WFP) Emergency Operation in Sudan.  The United States, a supporter of the WFP, has met its financial commitment to the program, however, other UN member states have failed to meet their obligation.  As a result, the WFP has been forced to cut rations by half.  50 Members of Congress joined Congressman Al Green in signing the letter.

"The genocide in Darfur is a human tragedy of the highest order.  More than 450,000 are dead, approximately 2.5 million are displaced and three million are said to be surviving on emergency aid," Congressman Al Green said.  "Adequate funding of the World Food Program is critical to effectively carrying out humanitarian relief in Darfur to ensure these innocent civilians receive adequate supplies of food and other life-saving necessities."

The United States has met its commitment to the WFP and has encouraged other donors to provide funds necessary to feed six million people over the next several months. However, other major world donors have failed to provide the necessary funding.  In spite of repeated appeals to donors, the WFP has received only $328 million or 32 percent of the $746 million required to provide food assistance to 6.1 million people in Sudan.  As a result of this funding shortfall, the WFP has been forced to cut rations for refugees in Darfur by half, bringing the daily caloric intake per person down from 2100 to 1050 calories per day.  The U.S. Government plans to increase food aid to Sudan by another $225 million; however, the WFP will need $283 million more to provide food assistance to six million people in Sudan.

"This horrific condition in Darfur exists for two reasons:  The actions of persons of ill will, and sadly because of the inaction of people of good will.  It is time for people of good will to take a stand," Congressman Al Green said.

According to recent estimates, the death toll in Darfur has reached up to 400,000 people since February 2003, and more than 2.5 million people have been driven from their homes.  More than 200,000 have fled to refugee camps in neighboring Chad, and as many as one million civilians could die in Darfur from hunger and disease within the coming months.