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
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
Hunger in the news
2 April 2009

US wants Myanmar out of isolation

The United States wants to forge a common strategy with Asia to coax military-run Myanmar out of isolation, a senior official said yesterday, suggesting six-way talks with North Korea could be a model. President Barack Obama’s administration has launched a review of policy on Myanmar, also known as Burma, where a US official last week paid the first visit by a senior envoy in more than seven years. [...] Meanwhile, the US government donated 16,000 tons of rice to typhoon-ravaged Irrawaddy delta yesterday, prompting the normally hostile state-run media to the cover the news, an official of the US Embassy in Yangon confirmed. “There were five journalists from Ministry of Information who joined our trip for the first time,” the official said. The trip was led Larry Dinger, the deputy chief of mission, and included officials from the World Food Programme. The donated rice was imported from the US, sources said.
The Peninsula / AFP
Hunger in the news
2 April 2009

U.S. donates rice for Myanmar cyclone survivors

The United States has donated more than 16,000 tons of rice to help survivors of last year's devastating cyclone in military-ruled Myanmar, officials said. The rice is part of a $28 million American food aid package distributed through the U.N. World Food Program (WFP) to survivors of Cyclone Nargis, which left 140,000 people dead or missing and 2.4 million people severely affected last May. "The United States government is the WFP's single largest donor for the cyclone victims," said Chris Kaye, the U.N. agency's country director, speaking to Reuters on Wednesday at a WFP distribution camp near Labutta in the hardest-hit Irrawaddy Delta. [...] The Obama administration announced in February that it was conducting a review of its policy toward Myanmar to find new ways to sway one of the world's most reclusive regimes.
Reuters
Hunger in the news
2 April 2009

WFP in campaign to sensitise truckers on HIV

As HIV/Aids scourge takes a huge toll on long distance truck drivers, Mombasa port stakeholders have united to educate hundreds of its crew along the Northern Corridor. World Food Programme (WFP) has joined in the fight against HIV among truck crew plying between Mombasa port and Uganda. WFP Kenya Country Director Burkard Oberle said the United Nations had established that long distance drivers and loaders were among the most vulnerable groups. Mr Oberle spoke during the opening of the Wellness Centre at Gate 18 in Mombasa port, recently. The clinic is dedicated to the fight against HIV among the drivers and other port workers.
The Standard
Hunger in the news
2 April 2009

'Corrupt deals to be cancelled'

Kenya intends to stop payments on corrupt deals including a fertilizer factory that was never built, the prime minister said on Wednesday, in a move that activists say could save the country more than $100m a year [- exactly the amount Kenya has appealed for from the International Monetary Fund] to help cushion its currency against the worldwide economic crisis. The country also has launched additional appeals for aid to help feed the more than 10 million Kenyans it says are at risk of hunger. The World Food Program puts the figure at 3.2 million.
News 24 / Associated Press
Hunger in the news
2 April 2009

34 rebels killed in fighting, Sri Lankan military claims

Sri Lankan troops killed 34 members of the separatist rebel group the Tamil Tigers Thursday during fierce fighting in the island's north in a drive to end a 25-year-old civil war, the military said. Troops collected the bodies of 31 rebels after intense clashes near Puthukkudiyiruppu, the last township held by the Tamil Tigers inside a tiny, shrinking territory, military spokesman Brig. Udaya Nanayakkara said in Colombo. [...] Tens of thousands of civilians are trapped in the war zone. The military says the rebels are using them as human shields in a desperate attempt to avoid defeat. But the Tigers say the people do not want to leave and have asked for their protection. [...] The United States has donated $15,000 worth of food aid to Sri Lanka, sufficient to feed 300,000 displaced people for four months, the U.S. Embassy in Colombo said in a statement. The aid represents 21 per cent of the total food aid called for this year by the World Food Program, the statement quoted USAID Mission Director Rebecca Cohn as saying.
CBC News

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