Hunger in the news

24 February 2009

The United Nations has pledged to assist Zimbabwe beyond the cholera epidemic with any other help Harare may require, including reviving the agricultural sector to ensure national food security, The Herald reported on Tuesday. President Mugabe appreciated the humanitarian assistance provided by UN agencies, citing the World Health Organization, World Food Programme(WFP) and the United Nations Children's Fund. "We will never, never fail to acknowledge that charitable work that is going on through the WHO, WFP and Unicef," he said.

23 February 2009

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe on Monday met Catherine Bragg, UN assistant secretary-general for humanitarian affairs, at the State House in Harare. Bragg, who headed a UN team which also includes representativesfrom the World Health Organization, World Food Program and the United Nations Children's Fund, was on a five-day trip in Zimbabwe to understand the situation of this southern African country. Senior United Nations officials arrived in Harare on Saturday. They were preparing for a series of meetings with Zimbabwe's political leaders and UN colleagues dealing with the cholera epidemic and food shortages.

22 February 2009

A UN humanitarian team arrived in Zimbabwe on Saturday to confront deadly cholera and a food crisis, and meet with President Robert Mugabe, officials said. "The mission arrived today. It is led by Catherine Bragg, the UN assistant secretary general for humanitarian affairs and deputy emergency relief co-ordinator of OCHA," a spokesman of the team, John Nyaga, told AFP. The other four members of the team are from the World Health Organisation (WHO), World Food Program (WFP) and the UN Children's Fund UNICEF, he said.

21 February 2009

ZIMBABWE'S president, Robert Mugabe, turns 85 today – but nobody wants to pay for his party. So far, fundraisers have been unable to raise the £17,500 needed to stage a party in the central town of Chinhoyi next week. [...] Mr Mugabe and his family have got used to lavish presidential birthday parties while the rest of the nation starves, stoking tension in this once-prosperous country. This year Zimbabweans are so hungry – and so angry – that seven petty thieves have been beaten to death in the last few weeks for robbing neighbours' vegetable gardens and farm plots, according to the official Herald newspaper. Seven million Zimbabweans need food aid this month, according to the UN's World Food Programme.

20 February 2009

Zimbabwe shares, battered by the world’s highest inflation rate and a decade-long recession, may rebound after the stock exchange reopened yesterday from a three- month suspension with listings re-denominated in U.S. dollars. [...] Zimbabwe is in the grip of an economic crisis that’s left more than half of the African nation’s 11 million people in need of emergency food rations, according to the United Nations World Food Program. A quarter of the population has fled the country. The U.S. and European Union imposed sanctions including freezing government assets and travel bans to show disapproval of Mugabe’s rule.

19 February 2009

ZIMBABWE'S new government took its first step towards rebuilding the shattered nation by honouring a pledge to civil servants by paying them in US dollars to counter the impact of hyperinflation. "We will pay every civil servant in foreign currency," Finance Minister Tendai Biti told a news conference in Harare. The armed forces had already been paid, he said. Zimbabwe is grappling with the effects of the world's highest rate of inflation. [...] Mr Tsvangirai explained that the foreign currency payment will enable people to go to work, to feed their families and to survive. Figures from the World Food Program last month indicated that more than half of Zimbabwe's 12 million people did not have enough to eat.

14 February 2009

Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai said the world should no longer see President Robert Mugabe as the main problem in the country as a new unity government tries to rescue the ruined economy. Speaking to Britain’s Guardian newspaper before a unity cabinet was sworn in on Friday, Mr Mugabe’s old enemy Mr Tsvangirai said it was time to move on to urgent issues, such as widespread poverty, high unemployment and crippling hyper-inflation. [...] Zimbabweans face unemployment above 90 per cent and prices that double every day. Half the 12 million population need food aid and a cholera epidemic has killed more than 3,500 people. Both Mr Mugabe and Mr Tsvangirai have named party stalwarts to the cabinet rather than technocrats seen as having the expertise Zimbabwe needs to escape its crisis. Political analysts have suggested that could lead to further mismanagement.

13 February 2009

[...] The United Nations says that this month it will feed seven million Zimbabweans, more than two-thirds of the population still left in a country where drastic shortages have driven millions of the most able across the border to work illegally in South Africa. But new foreign food aid has all but dried up as the western financial crisis bites and donors hesitate to pour in more money to alleviate a crisis of President Robert Mugabe's making. So rations for most people have been cut to about 600 calories a day, less than the minimum required to keep an adult alive. There is little relief in sight with the worst harvest in decades expected this year, mostly as a result of Mugabe's land seizures and economic policies. The numbers dying are rising steadily. A silent, almost unseen, cull is underway.

13 February 2009

A United Nations humanitarian mission will visit Zimbabwe this month to assess the country's needs and how the world body could provide assistance, The Herald reported on Friday. The mission, to run between February 21 and 25, follows a meeting between Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe and UN Secretary- General Ban Ki-moon on the sidelines of the 12th Ordinary Session of the African Union Assembly of heads of state and government held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, recently. According to a statement released by the world body, the UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs would lead the mission that will also include participation of the World Health Organisation, United Nations Children's Fund and World Food Program.

11 February 2009

Starving children eat rats, families turn on each other and farmers kill their own livestock to survive. Smuggled film brings Mugabe nightmare to world's attention.