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
7 April 2009

AfDB approves $2 million for drought and floods relief

The African Development Bank has approved US $ 2 million for emergency humanitarian assistance for drought and floods stricken people in Djibouti, Mozambique, Togo and Zambia. According to the Bank statement, the grants from which each country will receive $500,000 will be used to purchase food for distribution to drought victims and the refugees, as well as victims to floods in the Southern African region. [...] The assistance to Mozambique will go to support the government's effort in alleviating the suffering of 250,000 flood and drought affected populations mainly in Zambezia, Tete, Maputo, and Inhambane. “The food assistance of 1,000 tons of maize to be purchased locally, will be channeled through the World Food Programme (WFP) to the affected households whose crops were damaged by the floods and drought and left without means of survival,” the bank said in the statement.
Afrol News
Hunger in the news
7 April 2009

Gaza aid obstacles ‘must be removed’

The delivery of badly needed aid to the people of Gaza is being hampered by obstacles on the ground, including a shortage of materials for homes, schools and hospitals, the Red Crescent Authority said yesterday. In a speech delivered by Mohammed al Zarouni, general manager of the Red Crescent ’s Dubai branch, Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed, Deputy Prime Minister and chairman of the RCA, told a major gathering of humanitarian organisations the reconstruction of the war-torn region was one of the world’s biggest challenges and urgent action was essential. [...] Organisations such as the World Food Programme use the conference and exhibition not only to address critical issues such as the price of food but also to raise awareness about their work. In Somalia, Ethiopia and Afghanistan alone there are about 25 million people in need of nutritional support, Finbar Curran, the UAE country director for WFP, estimated.
The National (UAE)
Hunger in the news
7 April 2009

Madagascar: A Cyclone in a Political Storm

Aid agencies and Madagascar's disaster management authority, which has been paralyzed by months of political turmoil, are scrambling to asses the damage after tropical cyclone "Jade" struck on 6 April. [...] "We still have no data - assessments are still underway and the situation remains unclear," Dia Styvanley Soa, spokeswoman for Madagascar's disaster management authority (BNGRC), told IRIN. [...] Aid agencies were also awaiting further reports. "At the moment we don't have much information on the impact," Krystyna Bednarska, head of the World Food Programme in Madagascar, told IRIN. The harsh weather conditions have made it impossible for helicopters to be dispatched to affected areas.
All Africa / IRIN
Hunger in the news
7 April 2009

Madagascar: Appeal launched despite political uncertainty

Despite international condemnation of a recent coup-style change of government, aid agencies have appealed for over US$35.7 million "to prevent the deterioration of the humanitarian situation", according to the 2009 Madagascar Flash Appeal for funds launched by the Madagascar Humanitarian Country Team on 7 April. [...] The appeal document estimated that the combined crises had increased the number of people needing humanitarian aid to an estimated 2.5 million, mainly in the urban centres, with an additional 880,000 in the drought-affected south needing assistance. Krystyna Bednarska, head of the UN World Food Programme (WFP) in Madagascar, said: "WFP's food resourcing shortfall to address immediate food needs in the drought-affected south and the urban centres is around USD13 million." Food insecurity in the south is expected to deteriorate even more, while the lack of rain is expected to delay the next harvest by three months, and reduce it to by up to 40 percent.
IRIN News
Hunger in the news
7 April 2009

New food crisis looms

We tend to forget that the worldwide plunge into recession last year was the result of three separate phenomena that combined to breed disaster. The financial crisis was joined by a food crisis and a fuel crisis as the prices of food and energy soared, triggering food riots across the world. And now there are ominous signs of another food crisis in the making this year, spurred in part by the ongoing credit crunch that has made it difficult for farmers to get loans. "I think the world would like to focus on one crisis at a time, but we really can't afford to," warned Josette Sheeran, executive director of the U.N. World Food Program. Food supplies are tight and prices still high, she said, and more people in poor countries are unable to afford what they need because of the recession. "These are not separate crises. The food crisis and the financial one are linking and compounding," she noted, adding that food shortages often trigger political instability. "I'm really putting out the warning that we're in an era now where supplies are still very tight, very low and very expensive."
United Press International
Hunger in the news
7 April 2009

Sri Lanka: Growing concern over civilians trapped in conflict zone

Tens of thousands of civilians trapped inside rapidly shrinking areas of combat between government forces and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in northern Sri Lanka are a major concern for the UN, a visiting top official said. “The conflict is still going on, large numbers of people are being trapped in the Vanni [combat zone],” Walter Kaelin, the Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Human Rights of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), told reporters in the northern town of Vavuniya on 4 April. [...] On 3 April, World Food Programme (WFP) dispatched 1,000MT of food into the combat zone, the single largest shipment since the sea convoys began. WFP stated in a press release that since February 2009, more than 2,200MT of supplies - sufficient to feed 132,000 people for 20 days - had been sent to the combat zone with the assistance of the government in ships flying the ICRC flag.
IRIN News
Hunger in the news
7 April 2009

Village Voices - When the LRA came to Katine

My parents are peasants. They have seven children and work hard to produce enough food for the family, while the surplus is sold to get some income to afford other basic needs, such as clothes, scholastic materials and paying school fees. [...] However, in June 2003, while in my second year, the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), led by the Joseph Kony, struck. They came right from northern Uganda to the east, killing and committing atrocities. Schools, including mine, had to close. [...] I stayed at an IDP camp for six month without studying. We used to survive on food relief distributed by the government and non-governmental organisations, like the World Food Programme and the Food and Agricultural Organisation.
The Guardian
Hunger in the news
7 April 2009

Zimbabwe's Maize Crop Closely Watched in Hopes of End to Hunger Season

Agriculture experts at the Netherlands-based Early Agglomeration Recognition System said Zimbabwe's 2009 maize crop will come in 4% short of last year due to uneven rainfall, but a Zimbabwean agronomist said the harvest now beginning could surprise on the upside. [...] National Director Forbes Matonga of Christian Care, a partner of the United Nations World Food Program, said that with the arrival of the harvest his organization has suspended aid to the general population while it assesses crops and general food availability.
Voice of America News
Hunger in the news
6 April 2009

Somalia: Aid agencies ordered to register

Somalia's prime minister has ordered all aid agencies working in the lawless Horn of Africa nation to register with the new government for their own safety. The country is suffering one of the world's worst humanitarian catastrophes. A two-year Islamist rebellion has killed more than 16,000 civilians, driven another 1 million from their homes and left about 3 million dependent on food aid. Complicating operations for aid workers, large parts of south and central Somalia are under the control of hardline al Shabaab insurgents and allied Islamist fighters.
Washington Post / Reuters
6 April 2009

Food aid network gathers to meet global challenge

More than 700 people are meeting here in Kansas City this week for the International Food Aid Conference. What brings us all together is a shared commitment to eliminating hunger and making sure food gets into the hands of those who need it most. The work of those at the conference is noble and their challenges severe as the global economic crisis pushes more and more people to seek food aid.
Kansas City Star

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