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
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
Hunger in the news
31 March 2009

Number of chronically hungry people tops 1bn

The number of chronically hungry people has surpassed the 1bn mark for the first time as the economic crisis compounds the impact of high food prices, the United Nations' top agriculture official has warned. In an interview with the Financial Times, Jacques Diouf, director-general of the Food and Agriculture Organisation, warned that the increasing numbers of undernourished people could trigger political instability in developing countries. "The issue of world food security is an issue of peace and national security," he said, urging world leaders who are discussing ways to resolve the economic crisis not to forget that last year more than 30 countries suffered food riots. The Rome-based organisation estimated last year that about 960m people were chronically hungry in 2008. Mr Diouf said that had since risen and "unfortunately, we are already quoting a number of 1bn people on average for this year".
Financial Times
Hunger in the news
31 March 2009

Afghanistan:Food aid not reaching most vulnerable women, children

Despite a July 2008 joint emergency appeal for US$404 million 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. [...] Women and children are among the most vulnerable of the millions of Afghans who have been affected by insecurity, high food prices and drought, aid agencies say. Donors have responded by providing about 70 percent of the over $185 million the World Food Programme (WFP) requested for emergency food assistance in the joint appeal.
IRIN
Hunger in the news
31 March 2009

‘Hesco Bastion’: a new way to thwart terror attacks

After barriers of concrete, road blockers, close circuit television (CCTV) cameras and under vehicle screening systems, the latest mode of protection to thwart terrorist attacks in Islamabad is the ‘Hesco Bastion’ or barrier. A string of offices of international organisations and hotels have fortified their compounds by building this wall filled with tons of sand in a collapsible wire mesh container lined with heavy duty fabric. Some of the offices of United Nations, including the World Food Programme (WFP), the UN House, Unicef were among the first to have such walls built around their premises, located in residential sectors. The fortifications were done after last year’s suicide attack outside the Danish Embassy in Sector F-6/2 that also wrecked an adjacent UN Project Office. Similarly, a ‘Hesco Barrier’ has also been built to secure the Marriott Hotel after it came under attack last fall.
The News International
Hunger in the news
31 March 2009

Haiti’s Big Chance

It is easy to visit Haiti and see only poverty. But when I visited recently with former President Bill Clinton, we saw opportunity. Yes, Haiti remains desperately poor. It has yet to fully recover from last year’s devastating hurricanes, not to mention decades of malign dictatorship. Yet we can report what President René Préval told us: “Haiti is at a turning point.” It can slide backwards into darkness and deeper misery, sacrificing all the country’s progress and hard work with the United Nations and international community. Or it can break out, into the light toward a brighter and more hopeful future. [...] President Clinton and I saw many good signs during our trip, both large and small. One day we visited an elementary school in Cité Soleil, a slum in Port au Prince long controlled by violent gangs before U.N. peacekeepers reclaimed it. It did my heart good to see these children. They were well-fed, thanks to the U.N. World Food Program. Even better, they were happy and they were learning — as children should. It was a sign of more normal times.
New York Times
Hunger in the news
31 March 2009

100 million more children suffering due to financial crisis

Over 150 anti-poverty groups, environmentalist organisations, trade unionists, peace campaigners and faith groups, are taking part in a variety of protests to highlight the importance of the G20 acting on the fallout from the world's economic crisis. Save the Children is particularly concerned about the impact of the worst economic recession in over 70 years is having on the world’s poorest children at a time when government are focusing their attention on saving only banks and multinational conglomerates. [...] Rosie Shannon of the British charity told IRNA that the fallout on the world’s poorest children was really attributed to the rise in food prices. The World Food Programme has already warned that about 400,000 children could die because of food shortages.
IRNA
Hunger in the news
31 March 2009

Chinese navy to send new escort ships to Somali waters

A second group of Chinese navy escort ships will set sail for the Gulf of Aden Thursday to replace a flotilla sent earlier to guard against pirates. The new task force will comprise the destroyer, Shenzhen, and frigate Huangshan, as well as the supply ship, Weishanhu, which served in the first escort mission. With two helicopters and total crew exceeding 800, including navy special forces, it is mainly tasked with ensuring the safety of Chinese vessels passing through the gulf and waters off Somalia and those of international organizations like the World Food Program shipping humanitarian goods.
Xinhua
Hunger in the news
31 March 2009

North Korea — Riling up the world for five decades

It's a small, isolated Asian country, yet North Korea has managed to dominate world headlines for decades. [...] The media are under direct state control, with North Koreans offered little access to outside news sources and foreign journalists rarely allowed in to the country. [...] One story the North Korean media are accused of underplaying is the food crisis that has gripped the country. The United Nations World Food Programme estimates that 8.7 million people there will be in need of food aid in 2008-2009.
CBC News
Hunger in the news
31 March 2009

Refugees Suffering in Kenyan Camps

[...] Three refugee settlements in Dadaab, in northern Kenya have witnessed an influx of new arrivals. The Hagadera, Ifo and Dagahaley camps which have a capacity of 90,000 are now holding 260,000 refugees, according to Emmanuel Nyabera, the UNHCR’s spokesperson. The agency estimates that that the camp could have up to 360,000 refugees by end of this year. New refugees are sharing cramped tents with their relatives or strangers. Some have put makeshift up shelter under trees. There are fears of humanitarian crisis if the trend continues. [...] Human Rights Watch is now calling on the Kenyan government to provide land to build a new camp to accommodate 100,000 refugees, adding its voice to UNICEF, UNHCR and World Food Programme, which last November, asked authorities to help ease the congestion.
Inter Press Service (IPS)
Hunger in the news
30 March 2009

Strong growth in overseas aid flows

Overseas aid grew strongly last year but most rich countries still had a long way to go to meet pledges they made to the developing world before their economies entered recession. Figures to be released on Monday by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, obtained by the Financial Times, show that aid increased by 11.9 per cent last year.
Financial Times

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