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
25 March 2009

One million people at risk in Darfur, U.N. says

The U.N. estimates that 1.5 million people in Darfur are dependent on healthcare support, 1.1 million need regular food aid, and another 1 million are in need of clean drinking water. The summary released Tuesday said the World Food Programme, which is still allowed to operate in Sudan, is carrying out a one-time-only distribution program in March and April, but that new partners will be needed to continue delivering food after April.
CNN
Hunger in the news
25 March 2009

Joint Darfur aid warning issued

More than a million people in Darfur will go without food rations by May unless new aid agencies are deployed, a joint Sudanese-UN assessment says. (...) UN humanitarian affairs coordinator Ameerah Haq told journalists in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum that "the most critical needs are being filled for now". "However, by the beginning of May, as the hunger gap approaches, and unless the World Food Programme has found partners able to take on the mammoth distribution task, these people will not receive their rations," she said.
BBC News
Hunger in the news
25 March 2009

U.N. 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.
New York Times
Hunger in the news
24 March 2009

Japan continues to support Mindanao

Last January alone, the Japanese government gave an emergency food aid amounting to 860 million Yen (approximately $9.2 million) of 7,500 Metric tons of rice to the IDPs through the United Nation’s World Food Program, aside from providing sleeping mats, blankets, mosquito nets, jerry cans, water containers, and plastic sheets for tents, through a GGP project since December 2008.
Manila Times
Hunger in the news
24 March 2009

Riyadh pledges relief funds to Palestinians

Saudi Arabia pledged $20.5 million in Palestinian relief Monday during a news conference in Beirut where a "memorandum of understanding" was signed between a delegate from the kingdom and representatives of four United Nations' programs. The agreement allocates $7.6 million to the UN Development Program (UNDP)/UN Program of Assistance to the Palestinian People (PAPP), $7.6 million to the UN Human Settlements Program (HABITAT), $4 million to the UN World Food Program (WFP) and $1,273,300 to the UN Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM)
Daily Star (Lebanon)
Hunger in the news
24 March 2009

SUDAN: Hungry people are desperate people

Aid workers fear the crunch will come in a few weeks as supplies run low. At the same time, it is feared that waterborne infectious diseases, such as cholera, could increase in the coming rainy season. Many basic services, such as maintaining boreholes, were run by the expelled agencies. The UN World Food Programme (WFP) has started a "one-off distribution of two months' food rations to beneficiaries in areas formerly covered by the expelled NGOs", the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said. "This, however, is unsustainable in the long run due to limited capacity and the need for monitoring and accountability," OCHA warned on 22 March.
Reuters Alertnet
Hunger in the news
24 March 2009

The Rent-a-Country

Growing crops for strangers, of course, is nothing new. The long, grim march of colonialism was driven by Europe's penchant for sugar, tea, tobacco and other crops that don't flourish in northern climes. But as climate change and growing populations put ever more pressure on the earth, state-backed searches for land and food contracts as part of a national food-security strategy strike many as fundamentally new. "We're talking about a whole different logic," says Renée Vellvé, a researcher for Grain, an organization that has been compiling media reports of these deals. Vellvé's group sees a downside. When farmers in food-insecure countries like Laos and Cambodia are scrambling to feed their children, does it make sense to lease out vast tracts to grow rice for foreign governments? "These are not fallow fields," says Paul Risley, a World Food Program spokesman based in Thailand. "These are villages where families have farmed for centuries."
Time Magazine
Aid professionals
24 March 2009

The Future of Foreign Assistance

This report by the Council for Foreign Relations urges the United States to "stay the course in health and development aid goals". The report notes that "no question of disease, survival or longevity can be separated from larger development issues, food security or humanitarian crises". The section most relevant to WFP and food assistance starts on page 24.
The Chronicle - US Council on Foreign Relations
Hunger in the news
24 March 2009

Barack Obama: A time for global action

We are living through a time of global economic challenges that cannot be met by half measures or the isolated efforts of any nation. Now, the leaders of the Group of 20 have a responsibility to take bold, comprehensive and coordinated action that not only jump-starts recovery, but also launches a new era of economic engagement to prevent a crisis like this from ever happening again.
International Herald Tribune
Hunger in the news
23 March 2009

Rich nations must help despite recession

The economic crisis has now spread from Wall Street to Main Street to the places where there are no streets. (...) Last year, skyrocketing food prices sparked violent protests in 30 countries and scared many more into making generous donations. The United States doubled its contribution to the U.N. World Food Program. Saudi Arabia handed over a check for $500 million. All told, the world kicked in an extra $2.3 billion. As a result, the U.N. program was able to add 30 million people to the rolls of those being fed, and disaster was averted.
Concord Monitor

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