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
9 April 2009

WFP: Zimbabwe's Food Situation Improves

The World Food program says the humanitarian situation in Zimbabwe has improved because of the start of the annual harvest. [...] However, it says people who do not have dollars or other foreign money will continue to struggle to buy food. It says they also will find it difficult to have access to basic services such as health, education, water and electricity. WFP's public information officer for southern Africa, Richard Lee, says this causes concern. But, in a telephone interview from Johannesburg, Lee tells VOA, this is a good time of year for people who normally go hungry because more food is available in both the fields and in the shops. "However, we are likely to have a poor harvest this year," he said. "We still do not know exactly how poor it will be. But, it is likely to be poor. And, that means that people will start running short of food, particularly in the worst hit rural areas in the months to come. And, we will, unfortunately, need another large-scale humanitarian operation in Zimbabwe as we go through 2009 and into early 2010."
VOA News (USA)
Hunger in the news
9 April 2009

Chaos onshore in Somalia is driving piracy epidemic

Warlords and militias terrorizing villages. No functioning government, courts or police. Drought and hunger afflicting half the country. That's the situation in Somalia driving the epidemic of piracy off its coast, experts say. The chaos means there are no easy military or diplomatic solutions for the U.S. and allies to prevent attacks such as the one on the Maersk Alabama on Wednesday. [...] Attempts to alleviate poverty, which could reduce the need for Somalis to turn to crime, have fallen short. The U.N. World Food Program put out a $900 million appeal for aid to Somalia this year, but only 26% has been raised, said Dawn Elizabeth Blalock, a U.N. spokeswoman.
USA Today
Hunger in the news
9 April 2009

Cargo ship heads for Kenya; pirates holding captain

The U.S.-flagged cargo ship Maersk Alabama is heading to port in Mombasa, Kenya, a day after it was hijacked off Somalia's coast, the father of one of the crew members said Thursday. An 18-man armed security detail is on board to make sure the vessel and the 20 crew members get there safely, Capt. Joe Murphy said. It is about a 50-hour journey. FBI negotiators are trying to secure the release of the Maersk Alabama's captain, who is still being held by the Somali hijackers in a lifeboat. [...] The vessel was carrying relief supplies for USAID, the U.N. World Food Program and the Christian charities WorldVision and Catholic Relief Services. The U.N. agency said its portion of the cargo included nearly 4,100 metric tons of corn-soya blend bound for Somalia and Uganda, and another 990 metric tons of vegetable oil for refugees in Kenya.
CNN
Hunger in the news
9 April 2009

Bangladesh: Two million children suffer from malnutrition

Two million children aged between six months and five years suffer from acute malnutrition in Bangladesh, according to a new survey. Of these, half a million suffer from severe acute malnutrition, showed a survey conducted by World Food Programme (WFP), the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the government's Institute of Public Health Nutrition (IPHN).
Reuters AlertNet / IRIN
Hunger in the news
9 April 2009

Food Voucher Program in Burkina Faso Helps Stem Hunger

The World Food Program says its food voucher program in Burkina Faso has been expanded and now reaches 180,000 people in the country's two biggest cities. The WFP says the project improves peoples' access to food, while helping to boost the local economy. [..] WFP spokeswoman Emilia Casella tells VOA food is usually available in urban markets. But, many poor people cannot afford to buy it. She says distributing vouchers, instead of food, can be a more effective way of alleviating hunger in urban areas without destabilizing the market. "In essence, we are supporting the market because the vouchers permit the people who receive those vouchers to go to vendors and sellers who have been approved to participate in the program and exchange the voucher for food,"Casella said.
Voice of America News
Hunger in the news
9 April 2009

Mediawatch: U.N. aid chief warns of "bloodbath" on Sri Lanka's beaches

As fresh reports come in of civilian deaths from shelling in the "no-fire zone" on Sri Lanka's northeastern coast - where the military has confined Tamil Tiger rebels - the U.N. aid chief has warned of a "bloodbath". In a commentary for Britain's Guardian newspaper, John Holmes, the U.N. under-secretary-general for humanitarian affairs, wrote on Wednesday that "a bloodbath on the beaches of northern Sri Lanka seems an increasingly real possibility". [...] Food from the U.N. World Food Programme has been delivered by ship to the no-fire zone with the help of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), but the United Nations says this is only around a quarter of what is needed.
Reuters Alertnet
Hunger in the news
8 April 2009

Aid expulsion heavy blow to Darfur women

With her health options limited, one woman in this Darfur refugee camp is considering a risky alternative: a traditional healer who promises his potion of holy water, charcoal and glue, touched by verses of the Quran, can cure her uterus inflammation. It's not a choice 22-year-old Mastoura Hussein would have considered before the Sudanese government threw out some of the biggest aid groups working in war-torn Darfur. The order forced the departure of the doctors she had been seeing at a specialized women's health clinic. The expulsion has raised fears of a humanitarian crisis across Darfur, where several million rely on agencies for food, health care and shelter.
Washington Post / AP
Hunger in the news
8 April 2009

Photo Caption on MBC donation to WFP

The Marriott Business Council in Dubai has raised AED84,788 (US$23,089) for the UN World Food Programme (WFP) and UAE Red Crescent, through its ‘Marriott Spirit To Serve The Hungry’ campaign. [...] Picture shows (from left): [...] Finbarr Curran, UAE Country Director of UN WFP.
Travel Daily Asia
Hunger in the news
8 April 2009

Managing Disaster in Nigeria

[...] The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) was established via Act 12 as amended by Act 50 of 1999, to manage natural and man-disasters in Nigeria. [...] As the representative of Nigeria’s government in distribution of relief materials to other needy nations, NEMA's successes [...] have earned it the respect of some foreign institutions and bodies who partner with it mostly on capacity building. Recently the United Nation’s humanitarian agency, World Food Programme (WFP), visited the agency and commended its initiatives and programmes in addressing disaster related problems. WFP used the opportunity to seek a partnership with NEMA towards addressing food security in the West African region.
Daily Sun (Nigeria)
8 April 2009

Food Crisis Not Over, U.S. Aid Is Key: WFP Official

Moves by the United States to provide more cash instead of commodities to fight a growing world food crisis are welcomed, but more is needed, a U.N. World Food Program (WFP) official said on Tuesday. "Just because food prices have come down doesn't mean the crisis is over," said Allan Jury, WFP director of U.S. relations. [...] A new four-year, $60-million pilot program for just such local and regional purchases is getting under way with funding from the 2008 Farm Bill. And the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is spending about $145 million for local procurement projects to bring aid to people in Somalia, Ethiopia, Nepal and elsewhere, said Dirk Dijkerman, an assistant administrator with USAID. The moves are "a start in the right direction," but more is needed, Jury said. "Most of the donors give us cash. The U.S. is one of the last that gives us any kind of commodities. We would very much welcome if the U.S. was able to join the flexibility of other donors," he said.
New York Times / Reuters

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