Hunger in the news

A daily selection of news reports from the world's media dealing with hunger and responses to it.
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Hunger in the news
13 April 2009

Snipers kill three Somali pirates in captain rescue

US Navy snipers have dramatically ended a high-seas standoff with Somali pirates, rescuing a US captain held hostage on a lifeboat for five days, killing three of his four captors. [...] Phillips had been held aboard the lifeboat since the pirates attacked his cargo ship, the US-flagged Maersk Alabama, on Wednesday. The unarmed American crew managed to regain control of the ship, but the pirates captured Phillips and bundled him into the lifeboat as they escaped. The 20-crew ship had been bound for Mombasa, Kenya, carrying provisions for the UN World Food Program, including 4097 tonnes of soya and maize and 990 tonnes of cooking oil for vulnerable populations in Somalia, Uganda and Kenya. It docked safely in the port Saturday and its crew remain onboard while the FBI investigates Wednesday's attack.
The Australian / AFP
Hunger in the news
13 April 2009

The scourge of hunger

An emerging superpower, India paradoxically tops the global hunger chart with 230 million undernourished people comprising more than 27 per cent of the world’s undernourished population. Indicating that food insecurity is a reality in India a new report, State of Food Insecurity in Rural India, jointly released by the UN World Food Programme and MS Swaminathan Research Foundation, reveals that while every third adult (aged 15 to 49 years) has a low BMI at less than 18.5, as many as 43 per cent children aged below five are underweight. India fares no better vis-à-vis its emerging peers on the food security front as the vast majority of the world’s undernourished people — 907 million — live in developing countries, according to the 2007 data reported by the State of Food Insecurity in the World. Of these, 65 per cent live in seven countries: India, China, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Pakistan and Ethiopia. On a comparative note, some countries in South-East Asia, like Thailand and Vietnam, have made good progress towards achieving the World Food Security target; others in South Asia and Central Asia have suffered setbacks in hunger reduction.
The Pioneer
Hunger in the news
12 April 2009

Darfur rebels make their stand above the fray

[...] Most of western Sudan is flat, dry and almost bare of plant life. Here suddenly are pastures, streams, even forests. Past mango and orange groves lie dozens of small, quiet villages where people go about ordinary, self-sufficient lives in what some call the Switzerland of Sudan. They live in scattered huts with plenty of land. They grow crops on terraced plots carved into the mountain. The World Food Program says the region hasn't needed regular aid distributions since 2006. The people here have rejected overcrowded displacement camps, dependence on foreign aid and the daily threat of banditry and government harassment in favor of a somewhat normal, if isolated and fragile, existence behind "enemy" lines. It's a reminder of what Darfur must have been like before the 6-year-old insurgency engulfed it.
Los Angeles Times
Hunger in the news
12 April 2009

Uganda: WFP to Spend $100 Million More in Karamoja

The World Food Programme is to spend an additional $100m to feed the [Uganda] Karimojong over the next nine months. The country director, Stanlake Samkange, while meeting Moroto district local government officials at the district chamber hall on Tuesday said: "We decided to increase the food ratio by 20% so that the people can have enough food as they prepare their gardens." He said each resident would be given nine kilogrammes of maize and three kilogrammes of other items. "Let us work as a team to solve the interests of the people," he said
All Africa / New Vision
Hunger in the news
11 April 2009

Southern Nepal faces food deficit for first time

For the first time, southern Nepal's Terai districts -- the country's food basket -- have faced a food deficit, local media reported on Saturday. According to eKantipur.com, at least eight Terai districts -- Sunsari, Saptari, Mahottari, Sarlahi, Rautahat, Siraha, Kailali and Dhanusha -- didn't produce adequate food grains for themselves this year, said the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives (MoAC). [...] The United Nations World Food Program has already warned that the winter drought, which would cause crop losses of between 30-70 percent, would push two million people toward hunger.
Xinhua
Hunger in the news
10 April 2009

How To Stop The Somali Pirates

The Somali pirates' hijacking of the 508-foot U.S.-flagged container ship Maersk Alabama two days ago merely crowns a growing trend. [...] There were six attacks this past week alone before the seizure of the American ship, which was carrying food and agricultural products to Mombasa, Kenya, to supply the World Food Program and the U.S. Agency for International Development. At the moment, pirates are holding some 14 ships for ransom. [...] Taming Somali pirates will ultimately require rebuilding the Somali state in such a way that young men can both find viable means of support other than maritime banditry and be subject to law enforcement.
Forbes
Hunger in the news
9 April 2009

Return to Mannar

The Government is planning to begin the resettlement of civilians displaced by LTTE atrocities from Silavathurai in the Mannar district next month. According to Resettlement and Relief Services Minister Rishard Badhiudeen, the Ministry is making arrangements to resettle these civilians in par with the international standards. He said all civilians in 15 welfare camps in the Vavuniya district would be resettled in their original places of residence after the mine clearance process is completed. [...] The Minister said World Food Program’s Country Director appreciated the Government’s mission to ensure that IDPs are provided all basic amenities including food without any discrimination. “The WFP Country Director met me today and expressed his complete satisfaction over what the Government is doing for the welfare of civilians in the welfare camps and the people in the uncleared area,” he said.
Daily News (Sri Lanka)
Hunger in the news
9 April 2009

Vietnam Willing To Help N Korea Produce Food - Official

Vietnam is willing to help North Korea produce food, Vietnam's foreign affairs ministry said Thursday as Pyongyang faces what the United Nations calls a severe food crisis. [...] Following successive poor harvests, the United Nation's World Food Programme expects up to 40% of North Korea's population - or an estimated 8.7 million people - will urgently need food aid in the coming months.
Nasdaq / AFP
Hunger in the news
9 April 2009

Weak pound heaps food price inflation on poorest households

The collapse of the pound on the foreign exchanges is keeping food price inflation at painful levels, with the heaviest impact falling on poorer households and pensioners. The British Retail Consortium (BRC), which represents most major shop chains, reported yesterday a 9 per cent rise in the price of food in the shops in the year to March, against a fall in the prices of non-food items of 1.5 per cent. [...] A report prepared for the forthcoming get-together of G8 agriculture ministers in Italy – the first "food summit" of its kind – hints at the possibility of food wars in the future, or, as the report phrases it, "serious consequences not merely on business relations but equally on social and international relations, which in turn will impact directly on the security and stability of world politics". The long-term problem of meeting a doubling of food demand by 2050 from a world population of nine billion is moving up the international political agenda. Some nations, such as Korea and Taiwan, have been buying huge swaths of arable land in the developing world as a way of assuring food security. Around 73 million people now depend on the UN's World Food Programme for their sustenance.
The Independent (UK)
Hunger in the news
9 April 2009

UN food director in plea to help starving millions

Just one per cent of the trillions of dollars spent on bailing out the world’s banks would save millions of lives around the world, a UN official said yesterday. Daly Belgasmi, the UN World Food Programme’s regional director for the Middle East, Central Asia and Eastern Europe, called on wealthy Arab countries to help rescue the women and children who are starving as global food prices climb.
The National (UAE)

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