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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8 April 2009

Ban Ki-moon: "In bad times things fall apart fast"

Today's G20 meeting can make the difference between human hope and despair, between economic recovery and a plunge into deepening recession. We have seen the frightening velocity of change. What began as a financial crisis has become a global economic crisis. I fear worse to come: a full-blown political crisis defined by growing social unrest, weakened governments and angry publics who have lost all faith in their leaders and their own future. We must stop the slide. The recession hurts everyone, but those hurt worst are the poor - people with no homes or savings to lose, who in some countries spend as much as 80% of their income on food, and often lack the basics of healthcare, water and sanitation. They are the majority of the world's people - and they have no safety net.
The Guardian
7 April 2009

2008 was deadliest year for aid workers - study

Soaring violence in Somalia and Afghanistan helped make 2008 the most dangerous year on record for aid workers, with 122 killed while carrying out their work, a report showed on Monday. Aid work is now more risky than U.N. peacekeeping as attacks become increasingly politically motivated in some countries, researchers said. Last year marked a surge in violence against international relief workers and local U.N. contractors such as the truck drivers who deliver food aid in Sudan's war-torn Darfur region. There has also been a dramatic increase in kidnappings over the past three years.
Reuters
Hunger in the news
7 April 2009

FARMINGTON Lesson for today: helping others

Kindness, unselfishness and compassion are powerful values. At Mount Blue Middle School in Farmington [Maine, USA], all 96 students in the seventh grade are learning firsthand about lending a hand to those less fortunate. [...] Claire Donaghue has been playing the latest, online vocabulary challenge at www.freerice.com where top scorers "win" rice donated by sponsors for the United Nations World Food Program. Since 2007, FreeRice has generated enough rice to feed millions of people in developing countries. Claire said an all-night "FreeRice-a-thon" will be held in the coming weeks.
Morning Sentinel
Hunger in the news
7 April 2009

Orissa tribals get trampled under apathy & negligence

It was a dew-drenched December morning. The winter was at its peak. The picturesque Rayagada town on the borders of Andhra Pradesh and Orissa was wearing a beautiful bridal look. Alluring greenery on the hills nearby, hordes of buffaloes and sheep feasting on the long-grown grass presented a picture perfect for a nature artist to capture it on the canvas. All this had no meaning for Sukru Himrika. He had no longer any hope to live in this pretty place where he was born 23 years ago. He decided to leave his home to feed his family. [...] According to Food Security Atlas published by the UN World Food Programme, the regional patterns of development in Orissa reveals that development has not spread and there have been pockets of underdevelopment. [...] Low levels of land development in the KBK region have resulted in poor performance on the agricultural front. There is very small area that can be cultivated twice in an agricultural year. This has resulted in a very low cropping intensity.
The Asian Age
Hunger in the news
7 April 2009

Weeds for the poor, bribes for the Dear Leader

North Korea would be a lot better off if it could export legal products as good as its counterfeit Viagra. The country's ruler, Kim Jong-il, cannot admit that his father's celebrated economic doctrine of juche, or self-reliance, has failed. He keeps the country tightly sealed and pretends all is rosy while one-third of the population is so desperately short of food that it is suffering from malnutrition, according to the United Nations World Food Program.
Sydney Morning Herald
Hunger in the news
7 April 2009

In N. Korea, a Determinedly Rosy View of Satellite Launch

Kim Jong Il has expressed "great satisfaction" that North Korea succeeded Sunday in launching a satellite into orbit. The North Korean leader's satisfaction, as state news media explained it Monday, was in no way diminished by a worldwide expert consensus, based on tracking data, that the satellite did not go into orbit but plopped into the Pacific, where it apparently sank. [...] In the months-long run-up to the rocket launch, the country's most important domestic problem -- a chronic shortage of food -- was not glossed over by official media. Indeed, North Koreans were encouraged to collect their own feces as fertilizer for state farms and to go to the countryside to help with crop preparation. Under Kim, the government has not been able to feed its people. As many as a million people died of famine in the 1990s. Malnutrition and stunting are still widespread, according to the U.N. World Food Program, which estimates that about 37 percent of the population will require food assistance this year.
Washington Post
Hunger in the news
7 April 2009

US, rich nations and the needy - assistance soars

Barbecue season is at least a month away in Woodstock, a community of 20,000 people 60 miles north-west of Chicago, yet several shoppers at the checkout at Wisted's supermarket have loaded their trolleys to the brim with meat and poultry. "It's the first of the month and I just got money on my Link card," one woman customer said last week. "I'm restocking my freezer. I haven't been grocery shopping for two weeks." Eric Hendricks, the store manager, explained that the first day of every month was when people on the US government's Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program - commonly referred to by its former name, "food stamps" - received their money, paid electronically on to a Link brand debit card. [...] In Europe, meanwhile, anecdotal evidence points to a surge in people getting food aid from charities. Josette Sheeran, the executive director of the United Nations World Food Programme - who deals with food emergencies in some of the world's poorest countries such as Ethiopia - has noted the spread of food problems. "The needs are everywhere - in rich countries, food banks are being drawn down," she said. "Hunger will greatly increase this year."
Financial Times
Hunger in the news
7 April 2009

Relentless tide of global hunger engulfs 1bn

A tsunami was the image of choice to describe the blow of last year's food crisis. Today's situation resembles more the slow but relentless surge of a tide, gradually dragging more and more people into the ranks of the undernourished. Almost unnoticed behind the economic crisis, a combination of lower growth, rising unemployment and falling remittances together with persistently high food prices has pushed the number of chronically hungry above 1bn for the first time. The surge has reversed a decline over the past quarter century in the proportion of chronically hungry people in the world. "We are not out of the woods of the food crisis," says Josette Sheeran, head of the UN's World Food Programme in Rome, which needs about $6bn (€4.5bn, £4bn) this year to feed the poorest, up 20 per cent from last year's record of $5bn. [...] Domestic food prices in many developing countries, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, have not fallen at all and in some cases are rising again because of the impact of poor harvest and lack of credit for imports. Ms Sheeran points precisely to that problem: "Local prices are rising. For example, the price of maize in Malawi has risen 100 per cent in the last year while wheat prices in Afghanistan are 67 per cent higher than a year ago."
Financial Times
Hunger in the news
7 April 2009

G8 warns of hunger threat to global stability

The world faces the prospect of a permanent food crisis endangering international stability if countries do not take "immediate interventions in agriculture", according to the policy document for the first Group of Eight ministerial meeting on agriculture. The report, entitled "The global challenge: to reduce food emergency", warns that global food production needs to double by 2050 to feed a surging population while at the same time dealing with "pronounced climate changes" and higher input costs. "Without immediate interventions in agriculture and agri-marketing systems, the 2007 crisis will become structural in only a few decades," the document, drafted by the G8's Italian presidency and seen by the Financial Times, warns. [...] "We are not out of the woods of the food crisis," said Josette Sheeran, head of the United Nations' World Food Programme in Rome, which needs about $6bn (€4.5bn, £4bn) this year to feed the poorest, up 20 per cent from last year's record of $5bn. "The impact of last year's high prices continues. In addition, countries now suffer a loss of income because of the global financial crisis," she added, echoing a view widely held by other senior officials and experts interviewed by the Financial Times.
Financial Times
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

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