WFP at a Glance | World Food Programme

WFP at a Glance | World Food Programme

A child eating WFP high-energy biscuits as part of WFP’s nutrition assistance in Batangafo town, northern Central African Republic. Photo: WFP/Bruno Djoyo

This guide is updated on an ongoing basis. For referencing purposes, please refer to the WFP at a Glance publication (issued three times per year).

About WFP

The World Food Programme (WFP) is among the first on the scene in an emergency, providing food and other assistance to people affected by conflict, drought, floods, earthquakes, hurricanes and crop failures, as well as pandemics such as COVID-19. At the same time, we keep a sharp focus on sustainable development, providing governments with the support and skills to manage food security in the long term. We reached an estimated 150 million people with food, cash and commodity vouchers in 2023, with a presence in over 120 countries and territories. WFP aims to reach the same number in 2024.

Funding shortfall and ration cuts

Total contributions in 2023: US$8.3 billion. Total budgetary needs: US$22.8 billion (record shortfall of 64 percent)

WFP is in the midst of a crippling and historic funding crisis that is forcing the organization to scale back life-saving assistance at a time when acute hunger is at record levels. Almost half of WFP country operations have already cut the size and scope of food, cash and nutrition assistance because of a major drop in funding. Cutting assistance at this moment will have untold consequences for millions of people and jeopardize years of work fighting hunger and malnutrition. These tough decisions are not unique to WFP. They reflect the new and more challenging financial landscape that the entire humanitarian sector is navigating.  

Quick facts

  • WFP is funded entirely by voluntary donations, with a record US$8.3 billion raised in 2023.
  • More than 50 percent of the people WFP serves are women and girls.
  • WFP has around 23,500 staff, of whom 87 percent are field based.

A global hunger crisis

Global food insecurity remains higher than pre-pandemic levels, with an increase of 160 million people compared to early 2020. Up to 309 million people are facing acute levels of food insecurity in 2024 in the 72 countries with WFP operations and where data is available. An estimated 42.3 million people across 45 countries will be in Emergency or worse levels of acute food insecurity. Without urgent life-saving action, these populations will be at risk of falling into even worse conditions that could even bring famine.

A deadly combination of conflict, economic shocks and climate extremes is at the root of the hunger crisis. The economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the war in Ukraine, have pushed prices up and put food out of reach for millions of people across the world. 

These rising costs are also affecting WFP’s work. Inflation, supply chain disruption and other factors have increased WFP’s operating costs, compounding funding shortfalls and affecting our ability to assist people when they need it most. 

WFP’s interactive HungerMap LIVE provides up-to-the-minute metrics on hunger hotspots. Photo: WFP

Main areas of work

Emergency response* and preparedness

WFP is the frontline agency responding to emergencies caused by conflict, climate shocks, pandemics and other disasters. We also coordinate responses to large-scale emergencies on behalf of the wider humanitarian community, as lead agency of the Logistics Cluster and the Emergency Telecommunications Cluster. Our focus is also on emergency preparedness, working with partners to provide early warning and helping communities lessen the impact of looming disasters.

  • Each day WFP has up to 6,500 trucks, 140 aircraft and 20 ships on the move, delivering food and other assistance.

(*See also ‘Current emergencies’ section below)

A woman fetches water after severe flooding in Kurigram District, Bangladesh. Photo: WFP/Sayed Asif Mahmud
Climate action

Climate shocks such as droughts and floods can wipe out crops, disrupt markets and destroy roads and bridges. WFP is working with governments and humanitarian partners on the frontlines, responding to an increasing number of disasters. At the same time, we take pre-emptive action to reduce the number of people needing humanitarian assistance.

WFP deploys Forecast-based Financing to provide cash to vulnerable families, allowing them to buy food, reinforce their homes and take other steps to build resilience ahead of climate disasters. This approach was used ahead of torrential rains in Bangladesh

  • 21 fragile and conflict-affected countries rank among the 30 countries most vulnerable to the climate emergency.

Sustainable development is only possible in communities where malnutrition is eradicated and future generations can flourish. WFP has broadened its focus in recent years from emergency interventions to addressing all forms of malnutrition including vitamin and mineral deficiencies, and overweight and obesity.

WFP addresses malnutrition from the earliest stages, through programmes targeting the first 1,000 days from conception to a child’s second birthday. We provide access to healthy diets, targeting young children, pregnant and breastfeeding women, and people living with HIV.

  • WFP assisted 11.3 million children aged under 5, and pregnant and breastfeeding mothers and girls, with nutrition supplements between January and September 2023.
School-meal programmes 

WFP is the largest humanitarian organization implementing school-meal programmes. School meals improve children’s nutrition and health, while also increasing access to a potentially life-changing education. Home-grown school feeding sources food from millions of smallholder farmers, increasing their incomes and boosting local economies.

WFP serves as secretariat of the School Meals Coalition, comprising over 90 governments and more than 100 organizations working to ensure that every child has the opportunity to receive a healthy, nutritious meal by 2030. Among its goals has been restoring access to school-meal programmes after the COVID-19 pandemic, which virtually halted programmes in 2020.

  • A total 418 million children enjoy school meals worldwide, 30 million more than in early 2020 prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.
A smallholder farmer irrigating his vegetable garden in Bahr El-Ghazal state, South Sudan. Photo: WFP/Gabriela Vivacqua
Smallholder farmers

Smallholder farmers produce most of the world’s food and are critical in achieving a zero-hunger world. WFP’s support to farmers spans a range of activities to help build sustainable food systems, from business-skills training to post-harvest management, to opening up access to finance and roads to markets. Of the food that WFP bought locally and regionally in 2022, 123,000 metric tons, worth US$71 million, could be traced back to smallholder farmers in 24 countries.

  • WFP and partners supported more than 1.2 million smallholder farmers in 50 countries in 2022.

WFP’s early-warning and preparedness systems – including supply chain management, logistics and emergency communications – allow governments to prevent crises or respond quickly when they happen. We are helping to develop national capacities to manage disaster risk through finance and risk-transfer tools, such as weather risk insurance. Our expertise includes vulnerability analysis and mapping, as well as support to governments’ social protection systems such as cash transfers – developing national payment systems for example.

WFP’s Food Assistance for Assets programme forms a core element of WFP’s resilience work, improving long-term food security while helping create conditions for peace. People receive food or cash to meet immediate food needs, which frees up their time for working on community assets or livelihood resources that can increase resilience to climate change and improve access to markets.

Women in Mudug Region, Somalia, wait to top up their cards under a WFP cash transfer programme. Photo: WFP/Karel Prinsloo
Cash assistance

WFP is the largest cash provider in the humanitarian community. Cash allows for increased choices and diet diversity for people, while boosting local smallholder production, retail and the financial sector through increased spending and trade. It is also an effective means of giving more economic power to food-insecure women.

  • WFP has distributed over US$550 million to people in Ukraine since April 2022, helping them meet their basic needs while also supporting the country’s economic recovery. 
Capacity building

WFP transfers its skills and knowledge to a range of public, private and civil society groups who are pivotal to sustaining national policies and programmes. We are building governments’ and other partners’ capacities to manage disaster risk and improve food security, while also investing in the aforementioned early-warning and preparedness systems for climate and other threats.

Nobel Peace Prize

The award of the Nobel Peace Prize to WFP in October 2020 reflects our strong advocacy for the critical role of peace in ending hunger, and for the use of food as a tool for peace. Conflict and insecurity are key drivers of hunger. Many of the people WFP supports are fleeing conflict, and have been forced to abandon their land, homes and jobs. This award increases WFP’s opportunity to provide a stronger voice to hungry people in the world, and to mobilize support for the food assistance that they need.

Digital innovation

New technologies and innovation help drive WFP’s work to achieve zero hunger by 2030. WFP’s Munich-based Innovation Accelerator sources new ideas, pilots projects and scales high-impact innovations, by connecting them with WFP’s global network and field operations in over 120 countries and territories. 

The Accelerator reached 60.7 million individuals across 70 countries and territories in 2023, working with a network of WFP country offices and regional bureaux, innovation hubs and units and partners. 

Among innovations supported by the WFP Innovation Accelerator:

  • Optimus is an online optimization tool that helps identify the most cost-effective way to reach the people WFP serves. It has been used in 44 country offices, resulting in more than US$50 million in savings since 2015.
  • Earthshot Prize-winning Boomitra uses remote sensing and Artificial Intelligence to monitor soil quality including carbon levels, enabling farmers to adopt climate smart agriculture practices – such as reduced tillage and mulching with crop residue.
  • Solar 4 Resilience was started by WFP, the state of Odisha in India and the private company Science for Society Technologies (another Earthshot Prize winner). It provides entrepreneurs with solar-powered tools to convert damaged produce (vegetables, fruits, spices and marine products) into ingredients.

Current emergencies

Highest level

State of Palestine: Famine is coming to the north of Gaza and children are already dying of hunger. The number of people in Gaza facing Catastrophe levels of hunger has doubled in less than three months, from 570,000 in December to 1.1 million today. Read more

Sudan: Conflict in Sudan is risking the world’s largest hunger crisis across the region, with nearly 18 million people facing acute hunger and over 9 million displaced. WFP is doing everything possible to deliver emergency food and malnutrition support in Sudan and neighbouring countries, with access restricted by the conflict. Read more


Afghanistan: One in three Afghans do not know where their next meal will come from, reeling from a battered economy, devastating earthquakes and the return of thousands of Afghans from Pakistan. Read more

The Democratic Republic of the Congo: Eastern DRC is one of the world’s most complex and forgotten crises, with conflict and climate shocks among the primary drivers. Around 2.9 million people are projected to face Emergency levels of acute food insecurity up to June 2024. Read more

Ethiopia: Since operations resumed in mid-November, WFP convoys have carried thousands of tons of food into the conflict-affected Tigray region, allowing us to reach those most in need of our assistance. WFP is scaling up in an effort to reach up to 3 million people in the country. Read more

WFP has helped transport cargo for the humanitarian community after gang violence cut off road access in and out of Haiti’s capital Port-au-Prince last year. Photo: WFP/Theresa Piorr

Haiti: Thousands of Haitians have been forced to flee their homes and violence is hindering access to food, with a staggering 44 percent of the population acutely food insecure. Read more

Myanmar: Conflict and political turmoil persist in Myanmar, with over 18.6 million people in need of humanitarian assistance. Read more

North Eastern Nigeria: Conflict, population displacement, and climate extremes, alongside rising inflation and food prices, continue to drive hunger in Nigeria, with 26.5 million people facing acute hunger in the June-August 2024 lean season. Read more

A woman waits with her baby at a government facility where internally displaced people are registered before receiving WFP assistance, in Kaya, north of Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. Photo: WFP/Marwa Awad 

Sahel: Rising armed conflict, deteriorating security, widespread poverty and the impact of climate change are posing a huge hunger threat to countries in the Central Sahel, namely Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger. Read more

Somalia: Deadly floods have compounded the impact of conflict and other factors, in a country where seven out of ten people live on less than US$1.90 a day. Read more

South Sudan: South Sudan is simultaneously drowning and drying as the climate crisis tightens its grip. An unprecedented flooding crisis has swallowed large swathes of the country while other parts are grappling with devastating drought. Read more

A child eating rations at a remote settlement in Rukban, southern Syria. Photo: WFP/Marwa Awad

Syria: Syria remains among the ten countries with the highest number of hungry people globally, but a funding crunch has forced WFP to end its food assistance programme. Read more

Ukraine: The war in Ukraine continues to displace people, damage infrastructure, disrupt supply chains and hold back the country’s economy. One in five families is estimated to be food insecure. Read more

Yemen: Nearly a decade of conflict in Yemen has created one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises, with 18.6 million people needing humanitarian assistance. Read more


WFP Aviation manages the only UN-mandated air transport service, the United Nations Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS). The service connects the entire humanitarian and development community to people in need, reaching the most remote and dangerous locations on earth. It also ensures an uninterrupted delivery of supplies when other transport is disrupted by insecurity or damaged roads or other infrastructure, and where almost no other commercial airline is flying. UNHAS moved over 7,000 metric tons of cargo and carried 395,000 passengers in 2022, serving 540 destinations with 74 aircraft.

Further information: 12 things you may not know about the World Food Programme / History / Who we areOur work / Where we work Governance and leadership

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