Hunger in the news

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


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
Hunger in the news
15 April 2009

Piracy Leads to Delays in Food Aid to Somalia

A spokesman for the World Food Program, Peter Smerdon, expressed concern that the pirate attacks on food shipment would lead to a delay of needed food relief to Somalia, where drought and civil war has left tens of thousands of people hungry. The cargo ship Maersk-Alabama, freed this week from pirates, is now unloading food in the port of Mombasa, Kenya. But two other ships have been taken or diverted: the Togo-flagged Sea Horse was attacked 700 kilometers from the Somali capital, Mogadishu, on its way to pick up 7000 metric tons of maize for the WFP from Mumbai, India. "This is a worrying development for us," said Smerdon: "We are concerned the people in Somalia will go hungry unless the Lebanese-owned Sea Horse is quickly released or a replacement ship can be found. It was due to open a new corridor for the WFP from Mumbai to Somalia to deliver life-saving assistance. So we are alarmed that it was hijacked before it could even do this."
Voice of America News
Hunger in the news
15 April 2009

US captain arrives in Kenya after dramatic rescue

The US skipper freed in a dramatic rescue after being held hostage off Somalia for days arrived in Kenya Thursday aboard a warship, while Washington said it wants to freeze pirates' assets. [...] US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton unveiled a plan on Wednesday, calling for prosecution and freezing pirates' assets with the support of Washington's international partners. The chief US diplomat added that she was also sending an envoy to an April 23 Somali donors' conference in Brussels to improve the situation in lawless Somalia and help implement the plan. "These pirates are criminals, they are armed gangs on the sea," Clinton told reporters. [...] She said there are "ways to crack down on companies that do business with pirates." The World Food Programme has warned that millions in Africa risk going hungry if pirate hijackings keep aid ships from arriving in Mombasa. While piracy off Somalia has long been a problem for aid freighters, recent hijackings have marked a new development in the attacks, it said in a statement. The attack on the Maersk Alabama "was the first case of a Mombasa-bound ship carrying WFP food being hijacked," the agency said. "If food assistance cannot arrive through Mombasa for Somalia, Kenya, Uganda, southern Sudan and the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, millions of people will go hungry and the already high malnutrition rates will rise."
Agence France Presse (AFP)
Hunger in the news
15 April 2009

WFP to supply more food to Karamoja

The World Food Programme (WFP) plans to increase emergency food supplies to Karamoja so as to mitigate the hunger crisis in the region. The UN food aid agency said over 1,000,000 people in the region would receive 12kg of food each, up from 9kg. The increased supplies will run from this month till November, the agency said. [...] The WFP country director, Stanlake Samkange, also disclosed that they had established three more sub-offices in Kaabong, Nakapiripirit and Abim districts to coordinate the operations.
New Vision
Hunger in the news
14 April 2009

Obama Signals More Active Response to Piracy

President Obama vowed Monday to “halt the rise of piracy” off the coast of Africa following the dramatic rescue of an American merchant captain, foreshadowing a longer and potentially more treacherous struggle ahead as he weighs a series of problematic options. In permitting members of the Navy Seals to shoot the pirates holding the captain, Richard Phillips, Mr. Obama navigated a crisis that played out in full view of the world. But policy makers and experts said the precision killing of three Somali pirates with three bullets would certainly prove easier than wiping out the larger threat in the shipping lanes or reversing the instability that makes Somalia a breeding ground for pirates and Islamic terrorists.
New York Times

Video

Fighting Hunger Worldwide