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
26 March 2009

Former U.S. Agriculture Secretary Calls for Development

(...) In terms of agricultural research and educational exchanges, Catherine Bertini, former head of the World Food Programme, said the United States "has fallen back dramatically" in recent years on its commitments. Once, said Bertini, the United States gave hundreds of scholarships to foreign students wanting to study agriculture and science at U.S. universities, but today, only 42 are available. At its height, agricultural extension workers -- specialists from U.S. universities, government and the private sector -- trained 15,000 individuals from other countries in one year in modern agricultural methods. The number trained today is just 1,000.
All Africa
Hunger in the news
26 March 2009

NATO resuming anti-piracy mission

NATO's anti-piracy flotilla will resume patrols off the Horn of Africa soon, joining an international squadron already operating in the region, the alliance said Thursday. A NATO statement said the five ships will reach the pirate-infested waters off the Somali coastline within days. They will do a stint with the anti-piracy patrols there before sailing on for a tour of Southeast Asia. "This is another contribution by the alliance to the overall international effort to tackle piracy in this part of the world," spokesman James Appathurai said. "We have many partners alongside us and it appears that international efforts seem to be having a positive effect." The NATO flotilla, codenamed Allied Provider, is to return to Europe in June but at least some of its warships may stay on station to help monitor the waters of the Gulf of Aden. The flotilla of ships from Portugal, Canada, the Netherlands, Spain and the United States is commanded by a Portuguese admiral. Pirate attacks in the busy sea lanes off the Somali coastline hit unprecedented levels in 2008, and NATO responded to appeals by the United Nations by deploying a three-warship flotilla to escort World Food Program cargo vessels carrying desperately needed food aid to Somalia.
Associated Press (AP)
Hunger in the news
26 March 2009

Despite ICC's arrest warrant, Mubarak welcomes Al-Bashir

(...) Sudan ordered the aid agencies out of Darfur after ICC issued an arrest warrant for al-Bashir earlier this month over alleged war crimes in Darfur. Sudan, which does not recognise the ICC, rejects the charge. Holmes said that to feed the hungry in Darfur "we need to find some proper partners for the WFP (World Food Programme) if the decision is not reversed". The expulsion of aid groups "seems to us a reckless act", he added.
The Guardian (South Africa)
Hunger in the news
26 March 2009

South Sudan clashes leave 750 dead: UN

New fighting in the area of south Sudan where the 1983-2005 civil war erupted has left about 750 people dead, with growing insecurity in the wider region hampering aid efforts, United Nations officials said on Wednesday. (...) "We have seen reports of up to 750 dead, that seem to have been caused by cattle rustling," said Geoff Wordley, assistant representative of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in south Sudan. "We have seen a number of disturbing and alarming events in terms of security in recent weeks," Wordley told AFP. Officials said the situation in Jonglei's Pibor County now appeared to have calmed, but that it had had an impact on the work of relief organisations. "During the disturbances, at least one World Food Programme convoy carrying food aid was attacked and looted near Pibor, and therefore the situation of the delivery of humanitarian aid in that area is also of concern," Wordley added.
Agence France Presse (AFP)
Hunger in the news
26 March 2009

UN warns of growing death toll in Darfur

Humanitarian officials have warned that Sudan's pledge to fill the aid gap is unlikely to succeed while supplies of food, medicine and water are under threat. Darfur's main rebel group has urged people to reject all government help. The World Food Program is distributing a two-month ration to 1.1 million displaced people who were served by Care, Solidarites, Action Against Hunger and Save the Children, which have all been expelled. But Rachid Jafaar, a WFP official, warned that this was unsustainable and the organisation could not guarantee that all the people affected, at 140 sites, would receive food.
The Age
Hunger in the news
26 March 2009

Sudan's Beshir defies warrant in Egypt

The United Nations warned on Tuesday that it would appeal to international donors for extra funds following the expulsion of 3,142 aid agency staff. UN humanitarian affairs coordinator Ameerah Haq predicted the situation in Darfur would deteriorate further over the coming weeks. "By the beginning of May, as the hunger gap approaches, and unless the World Food Program has found partners able to take on the mammoth distribution task, these people will not receive their rations," she said.
Sydney Morning Herald
Hunger in the news
26 March 2009

UN official calls Darfur aid tenuous

A combination of stopgap measures by United Nations agencies and the Sudanese government has kept aid flowing in the world's largest relief program in Darfur, but the makeshift effort cannot be sustained, John Holmes, the United Nations humanitarian coordinator, said Tuesday. (...) The World Food Program, a United Nations agency that will remain in Sudan, used to deliver food through many of the agencies that were shut down. The program delivered food for March and April to 1.1 million people by using local committees, but another method will have to be found, Mr. Holmes said.
International Herald Tribune
Hunger in the news
26 March 2009

Sudan cattle clashes 'kill 750'

About 750 people have died this month in clashes in South Sudan over cattle-rustling, the United Nations says. (...) "We're seeing reports of perhaps up to 750 dead, that seem to have been generated by cattle rustling," Geoff Wordley, assistant representative of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in South Sudan, told the BBC. "The situation now appears to have calmed but during the disturbances at least one World Food Programme convoy was attacked and looted."
BBC News
Hunger in the news
26 March 2009

Joint UN, Sudan assessment of Darfur aid reveals critical gaps

United Nations humanitarian officials have commended the cooperation of Sudanese Government staff on an assessment of relief needs in war-torn Darfur, while they warned of high risks ahead following the ouster of crucial aid groups. [...] A statement from the UN office in Accra said for the long-term, [a] survey, conducted between 11 and 19 March discovered gaps in food aid; health and nutrition; non-food items and shelter; and water, sanitation and hygiene upon which some 4.7 million Darfur residents depended for survival. [...] The survey showed that food needs had been covered for March and April for about 1.1 million people, thanks to a one-time distribution by the UN World Food Programme (WFP) through local food committees.
Modern Ghana / GNA
Hunger in the news
26 March 2009

NATO Resuming Anti-Piracy Mission

NATO's anti-piracy flotilla will resume patrols off the Horn of Africa soon, joining an international squadron already operating in the region, the alliance said Thursday. A NATO statement said the five ships will reach the pirate-infested waters off the Somali coastline within days. They will do a stint with the anti-piracy patrols there before sailing on for a tour of Southeast Asia. [...] Pirate attacks in the busy sea lanes off the Somali coastline hit unprecedented levels in 2008, and NATO responded to appeals by the United Nations by deploying a three-warship flotilla to escort World Food Program cargo vessels carrying desperately needed food aid to Somalia.
New York Times / AP

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