The World Food Programme has called on the world to respond to Africa’s hunger with the same commitment it showed after the Indian Ocean tsunami.

“By responding so vigorously to the tsunami, the world admirably demonstrated how much it cares for millions of people facing extraordinary suffering,” said WFP Executive Director James Morris.

“Donations for Africa amount to just five percent of the US$1.9 billion needed by WFP to reach the most vulnerable and hungry people there in 2005,” the WFP said. “This stands in stark contrast to the almost full funding pledged towards the UN’s tsunami appeal for US$977 million, launched in January.”

After the tsunami WFP appealed for food for up to two million people. It received full funding for that at US$0.51 per person per day.

Rations for Sudanese and other refugees in Ethiopia had been cut by 30% as a result of funding shortfalls. WFP had been forced to cut rations for more than 2.8 million people in southern Africa in the second half of 2004, because of a shortage of funds.

“I very much hope that the scale of support following the tsunami bodes well for those in need in Africa too,” Morris said.