Hunger in the news

A daily selection of news reports from the world's media dealing with hunger and responses to it.
Subscribe


Hunger in the news
16 April 2009

UN: Naval escorts are getting food aid to Somalia

The United Nations warned Wednesday that piracy off Somalia's coast could deprive the country's poorest of much-needed food aid. The World Food Program has managed to deliver a steady flow of relief over the last 18 months, thanks largely to its use of naval escorts for supply boats approaching the Somali capital of Mogadishu, the northeast port of Berbera and Bosaso in Somalia's Puntland. But before those shipments are turned over to the U.N. aid agency, they are often unescorted and vulnerable to attack. [...] "The ship escort system has worked quite well," said Emilia Casella of WFP, which has been using naval escorts since November 2007. "When we've had escorts, we have had not any incidents of piracy on WFP-contracted ships." WFP shipped 260,000 tons of food to millions of Somalis suffering from drought and violence last year, Casella said. But the agency is worried about a cargo ship hijacked Tuesday while heading to Mumbai, India, to pick up 7,327 tons of WFP food for Somalia. The Lebanese-owned MV Sea Horse was not under WFP contract, but would have flown under the agency's flag once the food was loaded, Casella said. "We're very concerned that people in Somalia would go hungry unless the Sea Horse is released," she said.
Associated Press (AP)
Hunger in the news
16 April 2009

'I'm not a pirate, I'm the saviour of the sea'

Boyah is a pirate. One of the original “Old Boys”, he quietly pursued his trade in the waters of his coastal home town of Eyl, years before it galvanised the world's imagination as Somalia's infamous “pirate haven”. Boyah is dismissive of the recent poseurs, the headline-grabbers who have bathed in the international media spotlight and it shows; he exudes a self-assured superiority. Pirates are easy to spot on the streets of Garowe, the regional capital: their Toyota 4x4s cluster around equally new white-washed mansions on the edge of town. But to approach them, I am warned, is to invite kidnapping or robbery. [...] The tide of piracy -- 2007: With chaos reigning again, piracy returns - this time on an industrial scale. The World Food Program gives one of the earliest warnings, saying that it now fears for food supply ships bringing aid to Somalia
The Times (UK)
For Companies
16 April 2009

Technology in the line of fire

BBC News
Hunger in the news
16 April 2009

Zimbabwe crops to fall despite good season

Zimbabwe's maize output is likely to fall 5 percent in 2008/09 despite a good season, the main farmers union said on Thursday, due to a new wave of farm invasions and farmers' inability to afford seed and fertiliser. [...] The slump in farm output has caused widespread food shortages across the country, where the U.N's World Food Programme says about 5.5 million people have needed food aid since the beginning of this year. Thousands of white farmers have fled Zimbabwe since the land seizures began in 2000, and the CFU says the few commercial farmers left cannot produce enough to feed the country.
Euroinvestor / Reuters
15 April 2009

Saudis set aside $800m for foreign food

Saudi Arabia is putting $800m into a new public company that will invest in overseas agricultural projects. The move signals a large step-up in Riyadh’s efforts to outsource supply for the kingdom’s food needs. The provision of public money, on top of private-sector efforts to secure supplies, follows last year’s food crisis and Riyadh’s decision to phase out production of domestic wheat to conserve water resources. Abdullah al-Obaid, the deputy agriculture minister, said the new state company would support Saudi private companies investing abroad by forming joint ventures with the aim of reducing the country’s reliance on imports.
Financial Times
Hunger in the news
15 April 2009

No progress in solving Western Sahara dispute

Morocco and the Polisario Front have agreed to at least one informal meeting ahead of another round of talks on the future of disputed Western Sahara, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in a report Tuesday to the U.N. Security Council. Morocco, which has offered wide-ranging autonomy to the mineral-rich Western Sahara, and the Polisario Front, which is seeking independence for the region, have held four rounds of talks under U.N. auspices since June 2007 without any breakthrough. [...] A U.N.-negotiated truce in 1991 called for a referendum on the region's future, but that vote never happened because the two sides could never agree on voting lists. Ban said he remains concerned about the restrictions on the movements of U.N. military observers and the plight of the Western Sahara refugees, noting that 125,000 are currently receiving food rations from the World Food Program.
Taiwan News / AP
Hunger in the news
15 April 2009

Haiti asks for recovery aid

Michele Duvivier Pierre-Louis, the prime minister of Haiti, has urged the global community to do more for the impoverished Caribbean island at a donor conference in Washington DC. Pierre-Louis told Al Jazeera on Tuesday that while at least $77m had been pledged Haiti still needed more from donors. [...] Al Jazeera's Teresa Bo, reporting from Gonaives in Haiti, said 80 per cent of Haitians are living in poverty with three million affected by food shortages. While some organisations such as the World Food Programme have feeding centres in the country, their funding runs out in June and they are concerned where future money will come from.
Al Jazeera
Hunger in the news
15 April 2009

Massacre of the innocents: How starving families slaughter Zimbabwe's wild animals just to put food in their mouths

The skin of a giraffe lies discarded like an old coat on the ground. Alongside it lie a few bones. Isaac, a game warden of some 30 years' experience, points at the remains of the once elegant animal. 'This is what we are up against,' he tells me. 'How can we protect the animals when people are so hungry?' A country that is battling with starvation, cholera and 90 per cent unemployment now faces an extra challenge. Zimbabwe's starving millions are targeting wildlife in the country's famous game parks as a source of food and income. [...] The UN's World Food Programme now has responsibility for some 80 per cent of the people of Zimbabwe - a bigger percentage of the population than during the Ethiopian famine in the early Eighties. No wonder life expectancy in Zimbabwe today is just 34 for a woman and 37 for a man.
Daily Mail (UK)
Hunger in the news
15 April 2009

US food aid ship escapes Somali pirate attack

Somali pirates fired grenades and automatic weapons at an American freighter loaded with food aid but the ship managed to escape the attack and was heading Wednesday to Kenya under U.S. Navy escort, officials said. Despite President Barack Obama's vow to halt their banditry, and the deaths of five pirates in recent French and U.S. hostage rescue missions, brigands seized four vessels and over 75 hostages off the Horn of Africa since Sunday's dramatic rescue of an American freighter captain. [...] The Liberty Sun, with a crew of 20 American mariners, was carrying humanitarian aid to Mombasa. It had set off from Houston and had already delivered thousands of tons of food aid to Sudan. Spokesman Peter Smerdon of the U.N. World Food Program said some of Liberty Sun's food was destined for Somalia. He said the U.N. agency was worried because more food aid was to have been delivered by another cargo ship hijacked by pirates on Tuesday, the Lebanese-owned MV Sea Horse. It was headed to Mumbai, India, to pick up 7,327 tons of WFP food for Somalia.
Associated Press (AP)
Hunger in the news
15 April 2009

France Seizes 11 Pirates; U.S. Aid Ship Foils Hijack

The French navy captured 11 pirates off Kenya and a U.S. cargo vessel evaded rocket fire as Somali hijackers followed through on a threat to increase attacks. The pirates were seized after their attempt to hijack the Safmarine Asia, a Liberian-registered cargo ship, was thwarted by a helicopter from the frigate Nivose late yesterday, France’s Defense Ministry said in a statement. [...] Shortly before the attack on the Safmarine Asia, the crew of the U.S.-flagged Liberty Sun, taking food aid to Africa, used evasive maneuvers to foil a hijack attempt by Somali pirates who fired rocket-propelled grenades and automatic weapons. [...] The ship, which was chartered by the World Food Program, was carrying 27,000 tons of food aid destined for Kenya, Somalia and southern Sudan, Peter Smerdon, a spokesman for the United Nations agency, said today in a telephone interview. The cargo, which includes maize meal, corn-soya blend, wheat flour, lentils and yellow peas, is enough to feed 1.6 million people for a month, Smerdon said. [...] [Two other ships were seized yesterday, among them the Sea Horse, a Togolese-flagged cargo ship which was heading for Mumbai, India, to pick up WFP food aid for Somalia.]
Bloomberg

Video

Fighting Hunger Worldwide