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
29 March 2009

Uganda: Sh1 Billion to Boost Food Security

France last week signed a sh1.3b agreement to boost development in Karamoja and parts of Kampala.The grant will benefit seven projects, with one in Nakapiripirit district and six in Kampala. [...] The World Food Programme recently warned that food insecurity in drought-prone Karamoja would worsen in 2009, due to poor harvests last September.
All Africa / New Vision
Hunger in the news
28 March 2009

Why US went for private firms in maize deals

The US Government opted to let commercial entities deal with American maize exports after the National Cereals and Produce Board proved too costly for the job, Ambassador Michael Ranneberger said. [...] Beyond commercial deals, the US says it has been the largest donor of food and other emergency aid to Kenya in the recent past. Most of its intervention here as elsewhere has been through the World Food Programme, which the diplomat termed the largest and most efficient organisation in food distribution.
Daily Nation (Kenya)
Hunger in the news
27 March 2009

Philippines: Insecurity jeopardises aid work

A hostage crisis involving three International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) workers may force agencies to stop bringing assistance to some areas, officials told IRIN, as humanitarian workers feel increasingly under threat in the hostile south. Stephen Anderson, the World Food Programme (WFP) country representative, said additional protection measures for his 60 local and foreign staff were paramount as the situation in Mindanao had become "dramatically more insecure". "We can still manage the risk, though we have taken a number of measures in terms of security," Anderson told IRIN. "It [the kidnapping] affects us because we are concerned about the welfare of colleagues who do the same type of work."
IRIN News
Hunger in the news
27 March 2009

Sri Lankan Forces do not target civilians in 'no fire zone' clarifies Sri Lankan Foreign Minister

In a telephone conversation, Sri Lanka Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama has categorically stated that the Sri Lankan security forces do not direct any attacks on the Government declared no-fire zone along the Mullaitivu coast, notwithstanding the constant artillery barrage launched at the military by the LTTE. [...] Responding to a query by the Danish Foreign Minister with regard to the involvement of the UN and ICRC, Minister Bogollagama explained that the welfare transit villages were being assisted by the UN while the ICRC has been involved with the evacuation of civilians by sea. In addition, he referred to the involvement of the WFP and the ICRC in the transport of food and medical supplies by sea and their distribution to the civilians in the conflict area.
Asian Tribune
Hunger in the news
27 March 2009

UN concern over safety of civilians in Sri Lanka

The United Nations has expressed concerns over the safety of civilians, numbering as high as 190,000, trapped by fighting in northern Sri Lanka between the army and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). [...] Those uprooted by the fighting and are trapped in the no-fire zone have limited access to food, safe water, sanitation facilities and medical assistance, with the International Red Cross delivering a two-week supply of medicines aboard a ship to the zone and the World Food Programme (WFP) preparing to send 1,000 tons of food to the area.
Web India 123 / UNI
Hunger in the news
27 March 2009

Scaling up pre-positioned food aid

In a time of growing food shortages and high prices, humanitarian agencies have begun exploring ways to respond to crises sooner. Pre-positioning food aid closer to where it is needed to save money and time is one idea gaining ground. Leading the efforts to scale-up positioning food ahead of a crisis is the US Agency for International Development (USAID), the aid arm of the United States of America, the world's largest food aid donor. The agency will set up several food aid warehouses in 2009 to be able to respond rapidly to hunger crises across the world. [...] The example of USAID has been followed by the UN World Food Programme (WFP), the world's largest food-aid agency, which recently said it would launch a global campaign to raise money for an advance-purchase facility, and to position the food ahead of distribution needs. [...] Marc Cohen, a humanitarian researcher at Oxfam America, an international non-governmental aid agency said pre-positioning opened up more possibilities for sourcing and dispensing aid. "WFP is increasing its flexibility [in dispensing aid] with this approach: to have cash in hand to either dispense cash vouchers, or position a supply of food near where it could be needed." [...] WFP's intended "forward purchase facility" is currently in its pilot phase, according to Natasha Scripture, a spokeswoman for the agency. "The facility is part of a wider WFP toolbox and allows us to purchase food in advance of having a specific project to allocate it to," she said.
Reuters / IRIN
Hunger in the news
27 March 2009

Billion people face famine by mid-century

Famines affecting a billion people will threaten global food security during the 21st century, according to a leading US scientist. Nina Fedoroff, the US State Department chief scientist, is convinced that food shortages will be the biggest challenge facing the world as temperatures and population levels rise. Food security in the coming years, she said, is “a huge problem” that has been met with little more than complacency. “We are asleep at the switch,” she said. Her warning echoes comments by John Beddington, Britain’s chief scientist, last week in which he forecast a “perfect storm” of food, water and energy shortages by 2030.
The Times (UK)
Hunger in the news
27 March 2009

Drought is key factor in Kenya’s food crisis

Rose Mwembe has not had a corn harvest in six months. Last year’s late season rains never came and the current rainy season is already a month late, meaning she cannot plant for at least another month. [...] The irony of this drought-stricken region is that it is just a few dozen kilometres from Kenya’s verdant coast, where people survive on fish rather than agriculture. The drought has hit parts of central and northern Kenya as well and has added to the growing food crisis here. “We depend on rain-fed agriculture,” said Simon Mwangi, a programme assistant with the World Food Programme (WFP). “Our problem is an overdependence on maize as a staple food. People should diversify and plant crops that are more drought resistant.” The drought is just one factor contributing to Kenya’s food crisis.
The National (UAE)
Hunger in the news
27 March 2009

WFP Vouchers Help Feed Poorest of Burkina Faso's Urban Poor

Rising prices in Burkina Faso have put some staple foods beyond the reach of the urban poor. So the World Food Program has launched its first ever emergency food voucher program in Africa to help make up the difference.
VOA News (USA)
Hunger in the news
26 March 2009

New online price tool shows food still expensive

If you are a humanitarian food aid agency with limited resources, operating in Afghanistan and trying to access wheat supplies at the lowest prices, a new UN online tool can help you shop around. A couple of clicks on the National Basic Food Prices Data and Analysis Tool, developed by the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) can give you the price of food staples in 55 developing countries, in local currencies and measurements.
Reuters Alertnet

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