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
1 April 2009

Indian food policy failing, millions hungry: UN

A flagship government food subsidy scheme is failing and millions in India remain hungry despite years of economic boom, a UN report showed. The Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS), meant to sell food essentials to India's poorest people at subsidized prices, has excluded large numbers because of poor data and lack of adequate definitions of hunger, the report said. About 20 per cent of the world's 1 billion hungry poor live in India. [...] "Apart from failing to serve the intended goal of reduction of food subsidies, the TPDS also led to greater food insecurity for large sections of the poor and the near-poor," the report, written by the UN World Food Programme and a think-tank, said.
World Trade Review (Pakistan)
Hunger in the news
1 April 2009

G20 must not forget the poorest

This week’s Group of 20 meeting already has a packed agenda: maintaining demand, repairing the global financial system and increasing the International Monetary Fund’s resources. But the G20 must raise its sights; the effects of this worldwide recession extend far beyond the 20 states meeting in London. As Robert Zoellick, president of the World Bank, argued on Tuesday, the developing world needs more support. [...] Beyond measures for financial and economic stability, the G20 must also consider humanitarian support. Last year, the World Food Programme assisted 100m people around the world. This year, food prices are still high while incomes and trade flows have wilted. More people are expected to need the WFP’s help this year. It, however, remains short of funds. The world should not forgive politicians who, at a moment of crisis, find time to discuss tax havens and hedge funds, but stay silent on how they can help the poorest.
Financial Times
Hunger in the news
1 April 2009

Global financial crisis hits world's poorest hardest

People living in the world's poorest communities are eating less frequently and consuming worse food as a result of the global financial crisis, according to a study of the impact of the recession in five developing nations published today. Many poor families hit by the economic downturn are also removing their children from school, research by the Institute of Development Studies showed, and in a number of countries children are being pushed into work early as a consequence of the international crisis. Research conducted in Bangladesh, Indonesia, Kenya, Jamaica and Zambia attempted to provide a rapid overview of the consequences of the recession in some of the world's most deprived communities.
The Guardian
Hunger in the news
1 April 2009

A lifeline for Haitians devastated by hurricanes

Micheline Anosier is feeding porridge to her 18-month-old daughter, Merline. Quite a lot of the gruel has ended up on Merline's face but, judging by her expression, she's enjoying the meal. Around them in the Cantine Populaire a Jubile, other mothers and children are grouped, chatting and eating in the heat of the early afternoon. "I don't know what I'd do without this place," says Micheline. [...] This cantine is one of 21 supplementary feeding centres which opened at the end of last year as a joint programme by the World Food Programme (WFP), the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), Action Contre la Faim (ACF) and Ananda Marga Universal Relief Team (AMURT). The ingredients of the porridge – corn soya blend (CSB), sugar, oil and milk – are provided by WFP.
Toronto Star Online
Hunger in the news
1 April 2009

Agony as food, water shortage persists

His emaciated face and protruding ribs betray his once cheerful face and stable gait. Lying besides his three children in the manyatta in Tana River District, Farah Abdi’s image is that of desperation. He has not had a decent meal for a week and is too weak to rise from his creaking bed. [...] His daughter Khadija, who was the interpreter, says there has not been provision for the sick, aged and children in relief food distribution in Bangale Location. [...] Bangale Chief Abdi Buru admitted that food distribution was unfair to the sick, children and the aged. Mr Buru said the World Food Programme brought food, but was only enough for 1,550 people. "I have been forced to come up with a fresh list of people who are sick or aged who need relief food or else they could die," Buru said. The chief said several deserving people miss out.
The Standard
Hunger in the news
1 April 2009

Feed the children

The ironies of life. We are an archipelago of 7,000 islands buffeted by 26 typhoons each year and yet half of the population have no drinking water. Now we are seeing millions of children starving for food, in the middle of a tropical paradise of seafoods and wondrous fruits. It has gotten so bad that multinationals like the World Food Program, Unilever and Mead Johnson have to be invited to partner with government and NGOs to feed our children. [...] We are talking not only about kids in some farflung barangay out there in the boondocks, we are also talking about children fainting in a classroom in Metro Manila at 8 o’clock in the morning because they have had nothing to eat for the last 24 hours.
Manila Bulletin
Hunger in the news
1 April 2009

Myanmar: Rohingya face rising food insecurity

Food insecurity is nothing new for many Rohingya in northern Rakhine State, most of whom live in abject poverty, but this year is particularly bad. Of the state's almost one million inhabitants, about 85 percent are Rohingya, an ethnic, linguistic and religious minority that are de jure stateless in line with the country's laws. [...] The price of rice, a staple, was 75 percent higher in June 2008 against 2007, prompting many Rohingya families to forgo one meal a day. "Our recent field reports indicate a similar, if not worse, situation as regards household food insecurity in the early months of this year, largely due to growing levels of debt, a reduced harvest in the main 2008-2009 agricultural season, coupled with declining opportunities for wage labour," Chris Kay, country director of the UN World Food Programme (WFP), told IRIN in Yangon, the former Burmese capital.
IRIN News
Hunger in the news
1 April 2009

Yemen: Anger over delays in food distribution to flood victims

Delays in distributing food aid are generating anger and despair among people in the southern Yemeni governorate of Hadhramaut affected by the October 2008 floods, flood-displaced people and community leaders say. [...] The government has asked the World Food Programme (WFP) to handle food distribution. “We agreed with them in November, signed the contracts in December and handed over the food items to them in February,” Fahad al-Ajam, deputy governor of Hadhramaut, told IRIN. Sasha Hafez, WFP’s senior logistics assistant, told IRIN in Seyoun there had been delays: “It seems there have been some kind of administrative disputes… We received the second batch [of food] for distribution in March.” [...] “For reasons we don’t know, they [government officials] are not revealing how much food they have in their warehouses. WFP is only the logistics organiser for this operation,” said Hafez, explaining that such information was vital in order to plan and coordinate future food shipments with donors. WFP was now combining in its distributions food items from donors and those from the government, and trying to shift perishable items first, he said.
IRIN News
Hunger in the news
31 March 2009

Food security still a problem as hunger rises: FAO

A fall in grain prices has led to the impression that food security is no longer a concern, but the number of people without enough to eat is still rising in a world facing recession, the United Nations said Monday. "The level of prices is still 19 percent above the average of 2006 ... so we're still in a period of high prices," Jacques Diouf, director-general of the U.N.'s Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), told reporters at a conference in Bangkok. In addition, recent FAO studies showed that even though prices had fallen in international markets, retail prices in most developing countries had not. "Not only is the crisis here, but it's been worsened by the financial and economic crisis," Diouf said.
Reuters
Hunger in the news
31 March 2009

Farmers to cut US planting

US farmers are set to sow fewer acres this spring with crops such as corn and wheat, breaking a string of four years of increases in a move likely to support agricultural commodities prices through the economic crisis. The US Department of Agriculture will reveal its first acreage estimate on Tuesday in its Prospective Plantings report. Because the country exports half the world’s corn, a third of world soyabeans, and a fifth of the world’s wheat, changes in acreage and hence in output have a huge impact in global food prices. Traders anticipate a drop in almost every major crop with the exception of soyabean, bringing the country’s cropland to about 248m acres, down 2 per cent from last year. Farmers are planting less because reduced profitability on the back of current low prices and high cost for fertilisers.
Financial Times

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