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
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
Hunger in the news
23 March 2009

N.Korea: US Journalists Illegally Crossed Border

North Korea detained two Americans for illegally crossing its border and is investigating them, the communist country's official news agency said Saturday. (...) The North also is locked in a standoff with regional powers over its nuclear program, and earlier this week expelled five U.S. groups that distribute much-needed food aid in a country where the World Food Program says millions are going hungry. It has also repeatedly shut its southern border in recent days to protest joint U.S.-South Korean military exercises.
Fox News
Hunger in the news
23 March 2009

Camp in Darfur refuses humanitarian aid

Leaders at Kalma displacement camp in southern Darfur refuse aid from both international and government agencies, demanding that Sudan first allow 13 expelled foreign aid groups back. (...) The self-imposed aid embargo at Kalma camp, which includes the monthly food distribution, is heightening concerns about the welfare of the 88,000 residents. The World Food Program said Kalma leaders Thursday refused a grain delivery. The U.N. food agency faced similar resistance a week earlier.
Los Angeles Times
Hunger in the news
23 March 2009

Expulsion of Aid Groups Raises Risks in Darfur

The expulsion of organizations that provided clean water, medical treatment, food and shelter for millions of Sudanese in the war-racked region of Darfur has thrown the world’s largest aid operation into disarray, putting the lives of millions of displaced people at risk. The Sudanese government has pledged that local aid groups and government agencies will fill the gap, and that assistance from the World Food Program and other United Nations agencies still operating in Darfur will help avert an immediate crisis of widespread water and food shortages.
New York Times
Hunger in the news
20 March 2009

A dramatic change, then new challenge for Madagascar

Weeks of opposition protests and turmoil on the Indian Ocean island have killed more than 135 people, crippled tourism and left former President Marc Ravalomanana in the lurch. Using agency reports, Ben Ukwuoma writes on the dramatic victory for the young politician, Andry Rajoelina who was sacked as mayor of the capital only last month. (...) The crisis hit the cities hardest. "Loss of employment due to the political crisis threatens to push the vulnerable poor and lower-middle classes into destitution. For those who are already indigent, estimated at over 500,000 the current crisis has put even the most basic foodstuffs beyond their reach," Krystyna Bednarska, head of the UN World Food Programme (WFP), said.
The Guardian (South Africa)
Hunger in the news
20 March 2009

150 Million to Help Displaced Iraqis

This year’s funding has supported the 2009 United Nations Consolidated Appeal for Iraq and the region, and key international non-governmental organizations. The Appeal for $547 million will support relief efforts by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the World Health Organization (WHO), the World Food Program (WFP) and others. The United States calls on other donors to respond to the United Nations Appeal with substantial contributions of their own.
Scoop Independent News
Hunger in the news
19 March 2009

US releases $2.2m to Zimbabwe’s health sector

This recent contribution brings the total US humanitarian assistance to Zimbabwe ’s food and health crisis to over US$260 million since October 2007. The US is the leading food donor, providing nearly 70 percent of all international food aid distributed in Zimbabwe through NGOs and the UN World Food Programme this year. In addition, the US will contribute over US$30 million this year for HIV and Aids programmes, in addition to paying for 33 percent of the Global Fund’s multilateral programmes
The Zimbabwean

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