Hunger in the news

20 October 2009

A spreading plague of rats has devoured crops in western Myanmar, giving rise to a famine that threatens hundreds of thousands in the country's remote Chin State. (..) The United Nations World Food Program (WFP) reported in March that the rat infestation had spread to the outskirts of the main town in Chin State, Hakha, where the rats had invaded tea plantations and tamarind orchards.

17 September 2009

A new report by a human rights watchdog says that there is widespread human rights abuses by the Burmese Army continue even as much of the population of ethnic Chin Christians are struggling with food crisis in western Burma. (..) The report noted that despite increased attention to the crisis and involvement by international aid organizations such as the World Food Program (WFP), the response has been limited (..).

8 September 2009

Cyclone Nargis redrew the coastline of Myanmar in May 2008, wiping out hundreds of villages and ruining thousands of lives. (..) They are here to help the residents of Boe Ba Gone and Thai Kone build a connecting road between the two villages as part of a UN World Food Programme (WFP) food-for-work project.

20 August 2009

For aid workers, accessing Myanmar's cyclone-stricken Ayeyarwady Delta had meant a hop into the World Food Programme (WFP) helicopter and being airborne for about an hour. Not any more. The service stopped on 15 August after Myanmar's government failed to extend it. "It is back to six-hour-long road trips or boat rides," grumbled an aid worker. Chris Kaye, WFP country director, confirmed that the service had been discontinued. The agency had started off with a fleet of 10 helicopters after Cyclone Nargis struck Myanmar on 2 and 3 May 2008. The service delivered 1,119MT of life-saving supplies, including food and shelter materials, and transported thousands of aid workers and people needing urgent assistance.

22 July 2009

Survivors of last year’s deadly Cyclone Nargis are worried that the departure of foreign aid workers from the Irrawaddy delta will expose them to even greater food insecurity, according to local sources. (..) According to a survey conducted by the United Nations World Food Program in Laputta and Bogalay townships in February, 51 percent of households reported that they are still relying on food aid from humanitarian agencies, while only 25 percent said they could feed themselves. The report also said that about 83 percent of households have gone into debt to purchase rice.

15 July 2009

A landslide in Myanmar has left over 1,300 people homeless after their houses in a jade mining area were swept away or flooded, a U.N. official said. (..) Aid agencies operating in the area including Medecins Sans Frontieres-Netherlands have been supporting the hospital, while the U.N.'s World Food Programme is providing emergency food.

14 July 2009

The paint is drying on a sturdy-looking health clinic here, a new primary school is already overflowing with students, and farmers say they are expecting a normal harvest after being given rice seed, plowing equipment and loans. (..) Chris Kaye, the director of the United Nations World Food Program office in Myanmar, which has delivered thousands of tons of food aid in the delta, says the emergence of organizations like Mingalar has been a “very good thing” for the country. “They’ve emerged as a visible force and very reliable partners,” Mr. Kaye said. “We are very supportive.”

3 July 2009

A year ago, Soe Soe was US$20 in debt. Like many survivors of Nargis who lost their homes, she had no choice but to borrow from money lenders to feed her family - often at extortionate interest rates. (..) According to a Rapid Food Security Assessment conducted by the World Food Programme (WFP) earlier this year, 83 percent of households surveyed were reportedly in debt – with food the dominant expense. (..) "Recovery will require several more years of support and input," Chris Kaye, country director for WFP in Myanmar, told IRIN earlier.

29 June 2009

Securing Myanmar visas for international aid workers is again proving problematic more than a year after Cyclone Nargis killed nearly 140,000 people and affected another 2.4 million. (..) But others are not so lucky, and donor programmes are beginning to be affected: On 29 June, the UN World Food Programme (WFP) temporarily suspended its helicopter air service to the cyclone-affected Ayeyarwady Delta after a pilot in Bangkok failed to get an entry visa after waiting more than three weeks.

9 June 2009

More than a year after Cyclone Nargis struck Myanmar, food security shows signs of improvement, but huge challenges remain, particularly in the southern areas of the Ayeyarwady Delta. (..) "The victims in the northern part of the delta are on their way towards recovery," Chris Kaye, WFP country representative, told IRIN in Yangon, noting, however, that critical needs persisted elsewhere.