U.N. seeks about $100 mln to fight hunger in Indonesia
JAKARTA (Reuters) - The United Nations' food agency launched on Wednesday a drive to raise nearly $100 million from international donors to fund food aid for 840,000 people in Indonesia facing hunger.
World Food Programme (WFP) officials warned that the agency had not yet received any major pledges for the three-year programme, which could curtail its work in the developing Southeast Asian nation.
"Despite Indonesia's impressive economic gains of recent years, there are still millions of poor families who cannot provide enough food for their children," Tony Banbury, Asia Regional Director for WFP, said in a statement.
The U.N. food agency, which has received $2 million out of the $98 million it is seeking, said that its surveys showed an estimated 13 million children under five were malnourished in the world's fourth-most populous nation of 226 million people.
It said that in the remote eastern Indonesian province of Nusa Tenggara Timur 30 percent of children under five were seriously malnourished.
"We don't need all the $98 million at the beginning, but we do very desperately need money now so we can buy food and pay salaries," Banbury told a news conference.
The agency targets its food assistance to the poor in West Timor, Lombok, Madura, East Java and Greater Jakarta.
(Reporting by Telly Nathalia; Writing Ed Davies; Editing by Bill Tarrant)