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
6 April 2009

WFP's Suman Kishmat: Skills for a better future

Julekha, 36, can build a more secure life for her family now that she has raised her house out of the reach of floodwaters. She learned how to do this through an "emergency resiliency" course run by the government and the World Food Programme (WFP).
Toronto Star Online
Hunger in the news
5 April 2009

N.Koreans go hungry

As North Korea defied the world with a controversial rocket launch, UN officials say millions of people in the impoverished nation are going hungry due to a severe food crisis. Following successive poor harvests, the UN’s World Food Programme (WFP) expects up to 40% of North Korea’s population -an estimated 8.7mn people-will urgently need food aid in the coming months. “We hope the international community will continue to remember the food crisis in the DPRK (North Korea). The humanitarian needs should not be overlooked by other events,” the WFP’s Beijing-based spokeswoman Lena Savelli said ahead of yesterday’s rocket launch.
Straits Times / AFP
Hunger in the news
5 April 2009

North Korea Launches Long-Range Missile

[...] KING: Some breaking news this morning: North Korea launches a long-range rocket. The rocket failed to reach orbit, instead landing in the Sea of Japan and the Pacific Ocean. That's according to U.S. and Canadian aerospace defense officials. Joining us now is Ambassador Wendy Sherman. She was President Clinton's North Korean - Korea policy coordinator, and she participated -- quite rare -- in direct talks with Kim Jong-Il, the reclusive president of North Korea. [...] KING: And because of [the level of global opposition to this launch], when you talk about potential sanctions, one of the few things that gets in is emergency food aid, from time to time. But you hear from all the governments and nongovernmental organizations that they believe a lot of that food goes to the president and to the military and not the starving people of North Korea, right? SHERMAN: Well, in fact, the North Koreans have decided they don't want the World Food Program's aid because of complicated negotiations about the terms for that aid. That's terrible for the North Korean people. There's probably an entire generation with stunted growth, stunted mental capability. And so, as the day comes that there is reconciliation with the South, it is going to be a big lift for that economy to help North Korea. KING: The six-party talks are the platform for the diplomacy. The United States is a key partner there, as well as Russia, China, South Korea and Japan.
CNN
Hunger in the news
5 April 2009

North Korean Rocket Launch Spurs Diplomatic Frenzy

North Korea’s launch of a rocket on April 5 defied several United Nations Security Council resolutions and puts pressure on the international community to crack down on what the U.S. and its allies see as Pyongyang’s attempt to build a nuclear bomb. But how do you punish a country that’s willing to starve its own people so that it can buy tanks, missiles and nuclear technology? [...] Malnutrition afflicts a huge swathe of the population. The U.N. mobilizes a massive international aid effort that feeds millions of North Koreans who are on the verge of starvation. U.N. programs delivered more than $1.7 billion worth of food to about a third of the population between 1995 and 2005. In the coming year, more than a third of North Korea’s 23 million people are expected to need food aid from other countries, the United Nations World Food Program said in a report last December.
Business Week
Hunger in the news
5 April 2009

Pregnant (Again) and Poor

For all the American and international efforts to fight global poverty, one thing is clear: Those efforts won’t get far as long as women like Nahomie Nercure continue to have 10 children. [...] As we walked through Cité Soleil, the Haitian slum where she lives, her elementary-school-age children ran stark naked around her. The $6-a-month rental shack that they live in — four sleep on the bed, six on the floor beside it — has no food of any kind in it. The family has difficulty paying the fees to keep the children in school. There’s simply no way to elevate Nahomie’s family, and millions like it around the world, unless we help such women have fewer children.
New York Times
Hunger in the news
4 April 2009

Tanzania: Drought Hits Hard

Ngorongoro District officials fear possible exodus of people and animals from the area due to the ongoing drought spell that has hit Arusha region. [...] Phillip Marmo (MP), whose Ministerial office oversees the management of disasters nationally, explained that due to the gravity of the situation countrywide it may not be easy for the government to address individual cases. "People should continue observing the procedure we have been using all this long of coordination by the Prime Minister's Office's Disaster Management Department, the Agriculture, Food Security and Cooperatives ministry and the World Food Programme," he maintained. He said the relief food supplies that the government would dispatch to needy districts would be given for free only to those who are unable to afford even the token price, while others would have to buy them at a subsidised price.
All Africa / Arush Times
Hunger in the news
3 April 2009

'Dead Aid,' Dead Wrong

The broad American belief that foreign aid is stuffed down tropical rat holes has been recently reinforced by a young Zambian, Oxford-trained economist named Dambisa Moyo. Her book, "Dead Aid," has launched her as a conservative celebrity, feted by Steve Forbes and embraced by the Cato Institute. And the book is something of a marvel: Seldom have so many sound economic arguments been employed to justify such disastrously wrongheaded conclusions.
Washington Post
Hunger in the news
3 April 2009

At Stake Are More Than Banks

As world leaders gather in London for the Group of 20 summit meeting, the most wrenching statistic is this: According to World Bank estimates, the global economic crisis will cause an additional 22 children to die per hour, throughout all of 2009. And that’s the best-case scenario. The World Bank says it’s possible the toll will be twice that: an additional 400,000 child deaths, or an extra child dying every 79 seconds. “In London, Washington and Paris, people talk of bonuses or no bonuses,” Robert Zoellick, the World Bank president, said this week. “In parts of Africa, South Asia and Latin America, the struggle is for food or no food.” That’s what makes the G-20 summit — and Europe’s penchant for sniping at the United States instead of doing more to resolve the mess — so frustrating. Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany is obstinately resisting a coordinated global stimulus package, President Nicolas Sarkozy of France threatened to walk out if he didn’t get his way and the Czech leader threw a tantrum. For Americans like me who deeply believe in multilateralism, all this is enormously disappointing and makes us doubt Europe’s seriousness.
New York Times
3 April 2009

Burkina Faso: WFP expands voucher distribution

Families in Burkina Faso’s second-largest city, Bobo-Dioulasso, have begun receiving US$3 vouchers that can be cashed in for maize, cooking oil, salt, sugar and soap. The distribution is the second half of a World Food Programme (WFP) urban hunger-alleviation experiment launched on 13 February in the capital, Ouagadougou, to help people cope with high food prices. [...] While WFP and its partners are looking at using food vouchers in other countries, Burkina Faso’s WFP director, Annalissa Conte, told IRIN the approach cannot work just anywhere. “Urban settings are more suitable [given] the good banking system, and it needs to suit the needs of people without destabilising local production.” [...] Shopkeeper Mouniya told IRIN the most common complaint he gets from customers is that rice is not included in the programme. “They want to be able to exchange their vouchers for rice. It is not easy to eat the same thing every day.” [...] But WFP’s Conte told IRIN that maize can better cover the population’s “consumption needs” than rice. “We knew that we might have some beneficiaries asking for rice in shops when vouchers allow for maize and not for rice, which is imported and more expensive than maize.”
IRIN News
Hunger in the news
3 April 2009

Food aid not reaching most vulnerable women, children

Despite a July 2008 joint emergency appeal for US$404m to help the most vulnerable 550,000 pregnant and lactating women and under-five children in Afghanistan, nutritious food aid - specially fortified food -is yet to reach those in need. Some 24 percent of lactating women are malnourished, over 19 percent of pregnant women have a poor nutritional status (low on minerals, vitamins, food insecure and weak) and about 54 percent of under-five children are stunted, according to a joint survey by UN agencies and the government, reports Integrated Regional Information Networks. [...] Donors have responded by providing about 70 percent of the over $185m the World Food Programme (WFP) requested for emergency food assistance in the joint appeal. [...] "The nutritious food aid programme is due to begin around May after all of the required commodities have arrived in Afghanistan and once the implementation details have been finalised and also once the training of the field implementers has taken place," Susannah Nicol, WFP's spokeswoman in Kabul, told the UN Information Networks. Logistical hurdles, insecurity and several other factors have often delayed aid delivery, but WFP's spokeswoman pointed to others: "The reason why it is still in process is because there has to be specialised training; there has to be special food and the whole system has to be set up," she said.
The Frontier Post

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