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
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
Hunger in the news
3 April 2009

Poverty map unveiled

A poverty map of Bangladesh, estimating poverty at district and upazila levels, was launched yesterday with the aim to enable the government and policymakers to identify the poorer areas and allocate resources for pulling the distressed out of the curse. “It will help us spot areas where the extent of poverty is high. The map will allow us to take programmes and policies for alleviating poverty prioritising the most vulnerable areas,” said Planning Minister AK Khandker at the launching ceremony in Dhaka. The Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) and the World Bank in collaboration with the World Food Programme (WFP) updated the poverty map, completed in early 2009. [...] Referring to poverty rate, WFP Representative in Bangladesh John Aylieff said the poverty map would be a critical input for WFP's own planning, targeting, and allocation of resources. “Behind the map, there is statistics. And behind the statistics, there are mothers and children and many more faces,” he said. “Let's use the map as a means for concerted actions,” he said, adding: “It's the poor hungry people to whom we are accountable.”
The Daily Star (Bangladesh)
Hunger in the news
3 April 2009

WFP launches first food voucher operation in Middle East

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has launched a food voucher operation, the first of its kind in the Middle East, to assist some 30,000 people in the occupied Palestinian territories (oPt). The 12-month voucher operation began yesterday in urban areas of the West Bank, where the price of basic food commodities such as wheat flour, sugar, rice, oil, pulses and milk increased by almost 70 percent in 2008. Families will receive eight vouchers per month, with a monthly value of NIS200 (US$50). "The recent fall in global food prices has not yet translated into lower prices in local markets; Palestinian families are now spending about 60 percent of their income on food," said Christine van Nieuwenhuyse, WFP Country Director in the oPt in a press release. She added that the project would improve people's access to food, while at the same time providing a financial stimulus to the local economy.
Emirates News Agency (WAM)
Hunger in the news
2 April 2009

Marriott raises Dh83,000 for hungry children

By allowing Dh5 (US$1.35) to be added to their food or room bills, guests of a hotel chain have raised Dh83,000 for a UN programme to feed needy schoolchildren around the world. More than 83,000 school meals will be given to the world’s hungriest children this year, thanks to Dubai’s four Marriott hotels and their “Spirit to serve the hungry” campaign, launched last summer. Yesterday, a cheque for Dh83,000 was given to Finbar Curran, the UAE director of the World Food Programme (WFP), by Francisco Giles, the chairman of the Marriott Business Council and the general manager of Renaissance Dubai Hotel. [...] Mr Curran said that while governments had pledged their donations to the WFP before the economic downturn began, next year was a worry and the world’s support was pivotal to ensuring the hungry were fed. “For the West, a 10 or 20 per cent reduction in spending power is a serious problem, but for those who are spending 80 per cent of their income on food a 10 or 20 per cent reduction is life-threatening.”
The National (UAE)
Hunger in the news
2 April 2009

No Child Should Go Hungry in Indonesia

Hunger and malnutrition are the biggest threat to health around the world, more than AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined. Across the world, nearly a billion people, many of them children, go to bed hungry each night. These are sobering and tragic facts. World leaders committed themselves to eradicating hunger and poverty from the face of the globe under the 2000 Millennium Development Goals but that objective remains a distant dream. Hunger continues to stalk the world and is by far the biggest contributor to child mortality. [...] According to the Ministry of Health, Indonesia has reduced malnutrition levels over the past decade from 25 percent to 18 percent, but that is still significantly higher than the World Bank’s ideal standard of under 10 percent. In 2008, the World Food Program estimated that 13 million children in Indonesia suffered from malnutrition. Those are startling numbers given that there is enough food in the country to feed everyone. The problem, say experts, lies in the fact that many parents do not understand proper nutritional habits and what best to feed their children. Malnutrition is thus caused as much by the lack of proper education as it is by poverty.
The Jakarta Globe
Hunger in the news
2 April 2009

1m tons of wheat disappear every year: ministry

High-ups of the ministry of food and agriculture have said one million tons of wheat disappear every year in [Pakistan]. The revelation came at a time of growing concern over the food security amid indications that 77 million people of the country are malnourished owing to rising poverty. The ministry officials made this startling disclosure to participants of the second day of a conference organised by the Pakistan Institute of Development Economics (PIDE), here on Wednesday. [...] On the occasion, the Chairman of the Panel of Economists and former adviser to the PM on finance, Dr Hafez A Pasha, said 77 million people are facing the food insecurity according to the latest estimates given by the World Food Programme.
The News International

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