Emergency Activities

USAID leads international food assistance efforts within the U.S. Government. For more than 60 years, USAID has brought hope and nourishment to the hungry corners of the world, saving lives, reducing suffering and supporting the early recovery of people affected by conflict and natural disaster emergencies, including refugees. During a food emergency, USAID provides food assistance in the form of food, cash transfers or vouchers to save lives and reduce suffering. To learn more about how USAID and its partners choose to respond to food assistance needs, visit our Modality Decision Tool for Humanitarian Assistance.

Food assistance often plays a key role in USAID's responses to crises around the globe, in many instances going hand in hand with non-food assistance such as shelter and water. To learn more about the role of food assistance in USAID's emergency response, visit Working in Crises and Conflict.

USAID provides emergency food assistance in several ways:

Title II

Title II of the Food for Peace Act primarily provides U.S. food to those suffering from food insecurity. Title II food commodities are grown in the United States by U.S. farmers and sent overseas to feed vulnerable populations in the poorest corners of the world. The Agricultural Act of 2014 (also known as the “Farm Bill”) expanded the Title II program, enabling use of Title II Section 202(e) funds for market-based approaches that complement food commodities and ensure food security for the long term.

Emergency Food Security Program (EFSP)

USAID also receives emergency food assistance resources through the International Disaster Assistance (IDA) account, authorized in the Foreign Assistance Act. IDA allows USAID to address food security emergencies through market-based approaches including local and regional purchase of food, cash transfers for food and food vouchers to address food security needs in emergency contexts. The program reinforces market linkages in recipient and neighboring countries and supports private sector capacity to meet the needs of beneficiaries.

The Bill Emerson Humanitarian Trust (BEHT)

The Bill Emerson Humanitarian Trust (BEHT) is a special authority in Agricultural Act of 2014 that allows USAID to respond to unanticipated food crises abroad, when other Title II resources are not available.

Emergency Activity Application Guidance

Related Guidance

View all Food for Peace announcements of or modifications to Food for Peace policies and procedures in the Food for Peace Information Bulletins

Related Resources

Last updated: February 15, 2019

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