December 5, 1984

A major disaster exists in the developing countries of Africa and South Asia. Therefore, today I am directing the Secretary of Agriculture to release up to 300,000 tons of wheat from the Food Security Wheat Reserve for use to provide urgent humanitarian relief to those suffering from widespread hunger and malnutrition. I am also directing the Food Aid Subcommittee of the Development Coordination Committee to determine and act upon the specific needs that can be met through release of this reserve.

I am taking this extraordinary action today because relief cannot be programmed for this purpose in a sufficiently timely manner under the normal means of obtaining commodities for food assistance due to the unanticipated and exceptional needs currently existing. This action will help maintain our generous response to the suffering of needy people and keep the pipeline supplied as we continue to assess needs and other possible responses.

This wheat will be provided under the auspices of the Public Law 480 title II donations program. This program distributes food to needy people through both private voluntary agencies and recipient governments.

Ronald Reagan

Note: As printed above, the statement follows the White House press release.