Hunger in the news

4 March 2009

Beneficiaries of food aid in Ethiopia could face tougher times unless supplies that are stuck in Djibouti port arrive quickly in the country, sources said. Officials blamed congestion at Djibouti port, land-locked Ethiopia's main access to the sea, but insisted the situation was improving. [...] "A large quantity of WFP's [UN World Food Programme] food is at the port," Paulette Jones, WFP spokeswoman in Addis Ababa, said. "These [food] commodities are needed urgently to assist beneficiaries who are still suffering from the impact of the drought, high food prices and [low] global food stocks."

2 March 2009

Mulualem Tegegn bought a donkey last year – a proud achievement for this 58-year-old grandfather in the Amhara highlands of Ethiopia. Several years of drought, coupled with skyrocketing food prices, had stolen his livelihood; him and his family have been forced to eat seed that would have been planted, and sell livestock that was his source of income. [...] A few years ago, Tegegn got involved with a land rehabilitation program, offered by his government and assisted by the World Food Programme (WFP). In a land where rain has many names (depending on the season), the Productivity Safety Net Programme (PSNP) showed him how to harvest it whenever, and wherever, it fell.

1 March 2009

[...] The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) recently reported that drought and high food prices [in Ethiopia] have pushed 12 million people into hunger. For struggling families, knowing that their child is ensured a meal at school is an important safety net in times of crisis. As part of a long-term strategy to eliminate the high poverty rate in the country, school feeding is essential. The World Food Programme is working to help make sure every child in Ethiopia can receive a school lunch. Jakob Mikkelsen, a WFP representative in Ethiopia, talks about the importance of school feeding.

11 February 2009

A camp to accommodate thousands of Somalis fleeing violence in their country is to be set up in south-eastern Ethiopia, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) said. An estimated 10,000 asylum-seekers have arrived at the border town of Dolo Ado, in the Somali Region of Ethiopia, since the beginning of the year, according to Save the Children and UNHCR. [...] Last week, UNHCR dispatched six trucks carrying relief items, including mosquito nets, blankets, jerry cans, kitchen utensils, plastic sheets and mats from Addis Ababa to Dolo Ado. The UN World Food Programme also sent food rations, enough to last 10,000 asylum-seekers two weeks, and was airlifting high-nutrition biscuits from its emergency stock in Tanzania.

30 January 2009

Ethiopia said on Friday that 4.9 million of its people will need emergency food aid in the first six months of 2009 due to drought and appealed for $390 million from donors to pay for it. That figure represents a fall of 1.5 million from last October, when the government of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi said 6.4 million people needed urgent help to stave off hunger. Friday's statement said poor rains and high global commodity prices had triggered food insecurity in the huge Horn of Afric country last year, but lamented that there had been only a "limited response" from the international community. Many Africans fear the global credit crunch will mean rich nations send less aid to the world's poorest continent.

28 January 2009

As Ethiopia struggled with high food prices and a lack of relief aid in 2008, the UN children's agency, UNICEF, initiated one of the biggest responses to fight severe malnutrition ever undertaken. [...] "The global demand for ready-to-use therapeutic food outstripped supply last year, which gives the sense of the scale of the need," explained Louis-Georges Arsenault, director of UNICEF's emergency programmes. The agency has had to intensify its nutritional interventions in 17 of the 27 countries identified as worst affected by the global food price crisis. This year UNICEF is asking for just over US$1 billion in its new global appeal, of which health and nutrition needs will take the biggest portion – 38 percent - to care for women and children in only 36 countries, "and UNICEF runs operations in 150 countries," Arsenault noted.

22 January 2009

Ethiopia produced 9.5 percent more cereals and pulses during last year’s main harvest as improved rains, increased fertilizer use and fewer pests boosted output, two United Nations food agencies said. Production climbed to 17.4 million metric tons in the June to September rainy season, known as the meher, from 15.9 million tons a year earlier, the Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Food Program said in a joint report on the UN’s Web site. The harvest follows the failure of the country’s short rainy season from February to March, known as the belg, when output dropped 51 percent to 748,608 tons, leaving at least 12.1 million people in need of emergency food relief.

5 January 2009

African Union officials in Somalia have told the BBC pro-government forces in the capital Mogadishu are plugging gaps left by departing Ethiopian troops. A BBC correspondent says pro-government forces face an array of insurgents which has so far proved stronger. African Union peacekeepers on Sunday said they may have no option but to leave unless their mandate is boosted and their troop numbers bolstered.