United Nations leaders have called on the international community to assist the poor at a time of high food prices, noting that only a fraction of the $22 billion pledged this year for food security has been received.
UN General Assembly President Miguel d'Escoto said only $2.2 billion of the total $22 billion had been delivered by donors to supply food to poor countries.
"Let us not wait until the poor and excluded take to the streets before we meet our responsibilities," he said in an address marking the World Food Day at UN headquarters in New York Thursday.
He called on rich countries to triple the funds available to avoid a "prolonged human catastrophe."
"In marking World Food Day, we are dealing with the global crises of food security, climate change, energy and the global economic meltdown," Miguel d'Escoto said. "We see them as inter-related problems that all require complex, long-tern solutions."
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has been urging donor countries to triple development aid from the current annual $50 billion in order to meet development goals in poor countries, fight diseases and ensure food security.
Ban said in a separate statement that the world has not done enough to help the poorest of the poor. The World Bank defines extreme poverty when a person has purchasing power of less than $1.25 a day.
He cited food prices in Haiti and Ethiopia that have increased 500 percent while the world's financial crisis can further diminish purchasing power of the poor.
The world's estimated 800 million poor people have increased to over 923 million in recent years because of increasing economic difficulties, he said.