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
30 March 2009

EDITORIAL: Book your flight to Pyongyang!

[...] The Hermit Kingdom, with a per capita income of $1,150, is one of the world's poorest countries, has chronic food shortages, and relies on food aid from foreign countries to feed its population. Sadly, it has just kicked out five groups distributing American food aid and announced it will reject future U.S. food assistance. In the 1990s as many as 2 million North Koreans starved to death, and there are high levels of malnutrition, while Kim has enjoyed the cognac, French wine, caviar, shark fin soup and other delicacies he is reported to ingest. The United Nations World Food Program has said that of the nation's 23 million people, about 9 million - mostly children, pregnant and nursing mothers and the elderly - will urgently need food aid in the impending "lean season" as food stocks from last year's harvest run low.
Washington Times
Hunger in the news
30 March 2009

Rejoice Ngwenya: Aid Will Cripple Zimbabwe, Again!

President Robert Mugabe has appealed for international assistance to rebuild his self-battered country. Many aid activists are already salivating to this rapprochement from Africa’s most beleaguered president. The reason is simply that they never learn. However, they have a strong backing from the academic and entertainment industries.Irish rock legend Bono of U2 and his counterpart, Bob Geldorf of the seventies teen pop group Boomtown Rats are part of a clique one can safely refer to as ‘Angels of Mercy’ who habitually perceive Africa as an object of pity. [...] For us in Zimbabwe we even have firsthand experience on how free money in the hands of incorrigible rascals results in unmitigated disaster. Beleaguered Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono had for the past five years poured millions of foreign currency into what he termed ‘agricultural mechanisation programs’ for the benefit of President Robert Mugabe’s political support base. The Chinese, Libyans, Iranians and South Africans followed suit, yet the World Food Program reports that almost nine million Zimbabweans will require food aid this year.
Thisday Online (Nigeria)
Hunger in the news
30 March 2009

Darfur Advocates Mobilize to Counter Bashir Snub of Hague Indictment

With moves underway at this week’s Arab League summit in Doha, Qatar to stifle the International Criminal Court (ICC) arrest warrant against Sudan’s President Omar Hassan al-Bashir, government officials and anti-genocide groups around the world are urging nations to abide by court’s directive and try to overturn Sudan’s expulsion of international aid organizations to avert a deeper humanitarian disaster. [...] In addition, Executive Director of Genocide Intervention Network Mark Hanis notes, the United Nations and its associate aid agencies, have been careful to steer a neutral course in their dealings with the Khartoum government.“The UN requires the consent of the host government, so in Sudan, it requires Sudan’s consent to operate inside of the country.The other agencies like UNICEF or World Food Program (WFP) aren’t invading the country of Sudan, so they need the consent to function. So that’s the limitations.As long as Sudan gives them permission, they’re able to operate.When they don’t, then they’re significantly limited in the impact they are able to have,” he noted.
VOA News (USA)
Hunger in the news
30 March 2009

KC visits UN-WFP headquarters in Rome

KC Concepcion, national ambassador against hunger for United Nations-World Food Programme (UN-WFP), visited the agency’s main headquarters in Rome, Italy over the weekend to discuss the situation in the Philippines, specifically in Mindanao.
ABS-CBN News
Hunger in the news
30 March 2009

UN: Many Bangladesh children malnourished

The United Nations said Sunday that Bangladesh is battling "a silent emergency" with nearly half of the impoverished country's children under age 5 suffering from chronic malnutrition. UNICEF and the U.N. World Food Program estimated in a report that 48.6 percent of the country's 20 million children aged 6 months to 5 years are chronically malnourished, a devastating problem caused by food shortages and high prices. [...] Food prices in Bangladesh have been relatively stable over the past two months, but some officials say the food crisis still poses a major threat. "Even if the prices of food are now falling, the crisis is far from being over," John Aylieff, the WFP chief in Bangladesh, told a news conference Sunday.
Associated Press (AP)
Hunger in the news
30 March 2009

Corn Plummets 31% as Soybeans Fall 28% in Forecast

U.S. farmers are preparing to plant record amounts of soybeans and demand for corn is falling, driving prices to the lowest levels in more than two years. [...] Crop prices are among the biggest losers this year on the Reuters/Jefferies CRB Index of 19 commodities. While gasoline rallied 48 percent and copper 32 percent through March 27, wheat plunged 17 percent to $5.0725 a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade, corn dropped 4.9 percent to $3.87, and soybeans slipped 6.4 percent to $9.17. All three are down at least 40 percent from records last year, when consumers and exporting countries hoarded supplies and the United Nations’ World Food Programme said higher prices meant a $755 million increase in the cost of feeding the world’s hungry.
Bloomberg
Hunger in the news
30 March 2009

Guatemala to receive 15 million Euros for Agriculture from European Commission

Guatemala is part of the 314 million euro aid package to support agricultural and food security projects adopted today by the European Commission. Guatemala will receive 15 million Euros for Agriculture. The projects will operate in 3 year cycles. The aid package is for the 23 countries worst hit by the economic crisis in the world. [...] All funding of the projects adopted today will be channelled through International Organisations: the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the World Food Programme (WFP), the World Bank, the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and specialised UN agencies like UNOPS (in Myanmar/Burma) and UNRWA (in Palestine).
The Guatemala Times
Hunger in the news
30 March 2009

Kenya: New centre brings HIV services to truckers

"Every trucker should know how to change a tyre and put on a condom," said Anisa Abdalla, a doctor in the Kenyan port city of Mombasa, at the opening of a new "roadside wellness centre" offering HIV services to truck drivers and other transport workers. The centre – opened on Thursday by the UN World Food Programme (WFP) in conjunction with the Kenyan Ministry of Health, UNAIDS and the Kenya Ports Authority – aims to curb the spread of HIV among truckers travelling the “northern corridor”, which stretches from Mombasa to the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Plus News / IRIN
Hunger in the news
29 March 2009

KC: World has heart for hungry in Africa

KC CONCEPCION, the eldest daughter of singer-actress Sharon Cuneta, flew to the headquarters of the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) in Rome last week to plead for more funds—at least $7 million (P340 million)—to help feed poor children in Mindanao. A rising star herself, KC (short for Kristina Cassandra) spoke to some 100 officials and staff members of the WFP as the national ambassador for hunger, a title she shares with actors Sean Penn and Drew Barrymore of Hollywood, soccer superstar Kaka of Brazil, and actor-musician Jang Dong-gun of South Korea. [...] KC was later brought to WFP executive director Josette Sheeran for a private meeting. [...] “Today has been an enormous experience for me. Of course, meeting with Madame Sheeran was a great honor. She listened as I updated her on certain issues concerning our program in Mindanao. To realize that she was aware of who I was, and also recognized my efforts truly surprised and humbled me,” she told the Inquirer.
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Hunger in the news
29 March 2009

Somalia's hard-line Islamists invite aid groups

Somalia's hard-line Islamists on Sunday invited international aid groups to regions under their control to assist thousands of hunger-stricken people. "We are openly calling aid agencies to operate freely in the region in order to help thousands of people in the drought-hit areas of the country," al-Shabab Islamic movement commander Sheikh Mukhtar Robow Abuu-Mansoor told reporters. "We appreciate how they have assisted the people in the past and wish they continue doing the same," he added. [...] The World Food Program has offices in Wajid, a major food distribution center for the region. [..] Kidnappings of foreign aid workers and journalists by ransom-seeking armed groups are frequent in conflict-wracked Somalia. U.N. agencies attempting to deliver food aid have been repeatedly targeted. and four WFP employees have been killed since August last year.
Alarabiya /AFP

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