Hunger in the news

13 May 2009

Helicopter-borne Pakistani soldiers swooped into a Taliban stronghold in a remote corner of Swat on Tuesday as the United Nations urged help for hundreds of thousands displaced by the fighting. (..) The World Food Program said it had enough wheat, pulses, and other staples to feed 1.5 million people for three months, which may not be enough to deal with the crisis.

13 May 2009

Hundreds of Pakistani commandos were dropped by helicopter into a mountainous Taleban stronghold in the Swat district yesterday as the Army stepped up its campaign to root out the militants’ top commanders. (..) The UN’s World Food Programme said that it was doubling its shipments of emergency food to the new refugees but warned that more funds were needed. “We need the international donor community to quickly step forward with donations to avoid any interruptions in food distributions,” said Wolfgang Herbinger, WFP’s representative in Pakistan.

13 May 2009

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon agreed on the need for additional humanitarian aid after meeting with Pakistani President Asif Zardari on Tuesday. (..) The U.N. World Food Program has been providing emergency rations and supplies for about 650,000, including recently displaced people from the Lower Dir, Swat and Buner districts, and has announced plans to double the amount of assistance."WFP has mobilized in-country stocks and is prepared to feed the growing population of internally displaced persons for the next two to three months," said Wolfgang Herbinger, the food program's country representative in Pakistan.

8 May 2009

United Nations humanitarian agencies said Friday that the recent outbreak of violence in the north-west of Pakistan, would lead to a total of 1 million people eventually being displaced. In the last few days, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) said, between 150,000 and 200,000 people reached safer zones, escaping the renewed violence. Another 300,000 are said to be on the move. (..)The World Food Programme (WFP) was aiming to feed 600,000 people, but said that was going to be difficult as only 15 per cent of the displaced were in camps and the rest were scattered around

7 May 2009

The tent cities are growing in the district of Swabi, in north-west Pakistan: swelled with the thousands fleeing the fighting in nearby Buner district. (..) Most of these people have ended up in about a dozen refugee camps set up by the government in Swabi. Many of these camps are funded by private individuals. Others are supported by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the World Food Programme, others by foreign and local NGOs.

6 May 2009

Thousands of civilians are continuing to migrate to safer places from Upper Dir and Buner districts - the new theatres of an internal war between Pakistan’s Taliban and the military in the North West Frontier Province (NWFP). (...) The U.N. estimates that up to one million people have been displaced in the NWFP. The World Food Programme is working on a plan to feed an estimated 600,000 IDPs.

5 May 2009

Unidentified gunmen looted two branches of the United Bank Limited (UBL) and a depot of the World Food Programme (WFP) in the Taliban-infested Maidan area of Lower Dir on Monday. Eyewitnesses said several gunmen, riding two pickup trucks, reached the UBL branches at Titayarai and Gulabad in Maidan and looted them. They reportedly decamped with cash, furniture, carpets and computers. Another group of armed men looted the WFP depot, taking away 400 tins of vegetable ghee and 317 sacks of wheat.

5 May 2009

Shafiq Ullah vividly recalls the night he fled his home. "The helicopters came close over us, growing louder," the silver-bearded farmer says, in quick, panicked breaths. (...) Each family from Buner is entitled to a 40kg bag of flour, from the World Food Programme, the government of Punjab or USAID. "A gift from the American people," reads a message printed in English on some of the bags. Ekmeen Khan, a refugee from Babaji Gandau, is not impressed. "There aren't enough rations for all of us," he says. "This is the result of the war between the Taliban and the government. We poor people are stuck in the middle."

28 April 2009

When exclusion through discriminated access and lack of equitable distribution of benefits from resources gets a regional or religious identity, it turns the natural resources from a blessing to a curse. This is exactly what is happening in Balochistan for many decades. Balochistan's underdevelopment and poverty is exaggerated by political instability, the law-and-order situation, and growing insurgency. Americans are openly claiming that Al Qaeda leaders are in Balochistan and the option of drone attacks there is already on the cards. (...) According to research carried out by the SDPI and the United Nations' World Food Programme, Dera Bugti is the worst food-insecure district of Pakistan, after Tharparker.

27 April 2009

The United Nations World Food Program (WFP) and the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MINFA) on Tuesday released the findings of the baseline survey for the national programme for food security and productivity enhancement of small farmers, known as Crop Maximisation Project Phase II (CMPII). During January to June 2008, WFP conducted a benchmark survey in 1012 villages in all provinces as well as AJK, FATA and Northern Areas of Pakistan in collaboration with MINFA, Pakistan Agriculture Research Council (PARC) and Agriculture Policy Institute (API). The focus of this survey was on the households’ food security conditions, scope for enhancing crop productivity, and opportunities to increase income of small and medium resource poor farmers.(…) “The data of the study confirm that education is a major determining factor in reducing household vulnerability and improving food security as educated family members are more likely to have higher incomes, send their children to school and afford improved housing and sanitary conditions”, said Wolfgang Herbinger, WFP Country Representative in Pakistan.