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close this bookTackling Hunger in a World Full of Food: Tasks Ahead for Food Aid (WFP)
close this folder2. The first goal of food aid: saving life
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentThe damage wrought by crises
View the documentFood aid in emergencies
View the documentRehabilitation and crisis prevention

The damage wrought by crises

2.7 The human, productivity, and opportunity costs of complex emergencies are too high, however measured. Households disrupted by armed conflict are vulnerable to hunger over long periods of time. Nations experiencing conflict see past gains in development eroded or destroyed (Stewart 1993). Destruction in countries such as Mozambique, Cambodia or Nicaragua only adds to the cost of development investments in the future.
2.8 What is more, the resources dedicated to humanitarian assistance, peace-keeping and rehabilitation are increasing. Financial disbursements for interventions from OECD countries (excluding food aid) expanded from US$ 809 million in 1989 to US$ 3.2 billion in 1993 (IFRCRCS 1995). The United Nations system allocated more than US$ 5 billion on peace-keeping operations between 1991 and 1995--just in Africa (United Nations 1995a).

Better preparedness against crises is essential in the war against hunger

2.9 Growing more food is essential, but will not in itself solve the problem of hunger. There is a need at local, national and international levels for better preparedness against crises, and more attention must be paid to the needs of hungry people once emergencies have passed-the rehabilitation phase should lay a solid foundation for development. Better interaction is also needed between development and relief professionals to ensure investments that reduce household vulnerability to disasters. In all of this, food aid has a major role to play.