Austria Increases Fund for International Food Aid

CompaniesHealth Care ♦ Published: December 23, 2022; 00:03 ♦ (Vindobona)

The Austrian Ministry of Agriculture will increase funding for international food aid significantly. The Austrian Minister of Agriculture Norbert Totschnig traveled to Libanon to observe the situation.

Austrian Minister of Agriculture Norbert Totschnig About the International Food Aid. / Picture: © BML / Paul Gruber

There is a significant increase in funding for international food aid from the Ministry of Agriculture. During the next three years, 60 million euros will be allocated, this year it was 1.6 million euros. As part of a strategic partnership, the World Food Program (WFP) will receive a large part of the funds. During his visit to Lebanon on December 22, Agriculture Minister Norbert Totschnig checked on the use of aid, according to ORF.

"The situation here is particularly difficult," Totschnig said. There is a catastrophic economic situation, and inflation is at an all-time high. Since 1997, the currency has been pegged to the US dollar. It has become more and more expensive for the dollar on the black market since the summer of 2019 when the exchange rate (1,500 Lebanese pounds = 1 US dollar) no longer applied. People across the country were shocked by a new peak. Moreover, the ORF states that you had to pay 46,500 Lebanese pounds for one US dollar.

According to ORF, the refugees receive no state aid. They pay rent to the private owners of the fields for the space on which their simply put-together shelters made of tarps stand, which often cannot withstand wind and rain. "You can fight hunger in the western world with financial means and thus reduce reasons for flight, among other things," said Totschnig.

As ORF reports, more and more Lebanese are also making a living from the food aid provided by the World Food Program. The largest of WFP's three warehouses is located in Beirut. Thousands of sacks of lentils, rice, pasta and oil are stacked here. 300 containers arrive here per month. "The situation in Lebanon is changing from bad to worse," said WFP Lebanon Director Abdallah Alwardat. "We are experiencing a serious crisis."