World

AP Interview: UN food agency says it's confronting worst challenge since World War II

The head of the World Food Program says the U.N. agency is confronting its worst challenge since World War II in trying to tackle five top-level humanitarian crises at the same time.

Ertharin Cousin said in an interview Friday with The Associated Press that the five crises — in Syria, Iraq, Central African Republic, South Sudan, and the Ebola epidemic in West Africa — require large-scale operations by WFP and other humanitarian agencies.

In addition, she said, WFP is doing preparatory work for a potential scale-up in food assistance to four other countries where there is growing political instability — Yemen, Nigeria, Ukraine and Libya.

Cousin said the demands are overwhelming the donor community and as a result WFP had to cut food assistance to six million Syrians in January.