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
17 March 2009

Donors’ food aid cut

The volume of direct food aid by the donor countries to Vulnerable Group Development (VGD) programme has declined considerably recent times because of their waning interest and confidence in this particular project. In a recent letter to the Economic Relations Division (ERD) World Food Programme (WFP) said that though WFP has intensified its efforts with donors to continue its support to the VGD programme it might not be feasible to continue donors contribution in coming months. The waning of donors interest and confidence in this programme has been cited as the reason for the cut in the food aid. The donor countries have instead expressed interest in enhancing support to Food for Education (FFD) Programmes in the country.
The New Nation (Bangladesh)
Hunger in the news
17 March 2009

Heavy fighting in north Sri Lanka

Intense fighting is going on between Sri Lankan troops and Tamil Tiger rebels in north-eastern Sri Lanka. The military says at least 36 rebels have been killed in ferocious battles in Mullaitivu district on Monday. Meanwhile, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) says another ship with food items for civilians has reached the conflict zone. [...] "The ship arrived off the coast of Putumatalan in the north-east this morning (Tuesday) and has started to offload its supplies. It will take several days to finish the work," ICRC spokeswoman Sophie Romanens said. The World Food Programme, which has sent most of the food along with some government supplies, says 500 metric tonnes of food will be sufficient for a 100,000 people for about 10 days.
BBC News
Hunger in the news
17 March 2009

North Korean Premier Lauds China as Regional Bulwark

North Korean Premier Kim Yong-il praised China as a regional bulwark before arriving for a visit on Tuesday that underscores Beijing's go-softly approach to Pyongyang's missile launch plans that have alarmed the region. Kim is not related to the North's supreme leader, Kim Jong-il, and wields little military power, but his five-day trip signals China's desire to woo North Korea as other powers warn against its plan to fire a rocket between April 4 to 8. [...] North Korea has also ordered international food aid workers to leave the country this month over a dispute with the United States, the Financial Times reported. Pyongyang had told Washington that U.N. World Food Program (WFP) staff will be barred from distributing food aid after March. The WFP said earlier this month it had scaled back its food aid in North Korea after several months of funding shortfalls, adding that operations were at 15 percent of planned levels.
New York Times
Hunger in the news
17 March 2009

North Korean Human Rights ‘Dire and Desperate,’ UN Envoy Says

North Koreans are facing “dire and desperate” human rights conditions under a regime that is bent on personal survival, a United Nations envoy to the country said. “The overall picture of human rights implementation in the country was grim,” the UN said, citing a report by Vitit Muntarbhorn presented yesterday to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. [...] The North Korean regime has used food grants as a means of control over the people, Muntarbhorn said. The policy failed in the 1990s when the country suffered famine caused by floods, drought and economic mismanagement. As many as 8.7 million people need food aid in the country, the envoy said. North Korea’s food shortage this year is estimated to reach 1.17 million metric tons, South Korea’s Unification Ministry said last month. The UN World Food Programme said in a Dec. 8 report that North Korea is facing a shortfall of more than 800,000 tons of grain for the year through October 2009.
Bloomberg
Hunger in the news
17 March 2009

N Korea-US distrust halts food aid

North Korea has ordered international food aid workers to leave the country this month over a dispute with the US that comes amid rising tensions as Pyongyang prepares to launch a long-range missile. Pyongyang has told Washington that United Nations World Food Programme [WFP] staff will be barred from distributing food aid after March. The Stalinist regime has also told US non-governmental organisations to leave this month, and rescinded permission for other humanitarian groups to visit, the Financial Times has learned.
Financial Times
Hunger in the news
17 March 2009

Abducted UN staff in Somalia released safely

Four humanitarian workers kidnapped in Somalia have been released, United Nations humanitarian agency said. A statement from the Nairobi-based UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) issued on Monday night said the aid workers, who were with the United Nations Development Programme and the World Food Programme, were released unharmed.
Xinhua
Hunger in the news
17 March 2009

Do not leave Africa in a scramble

To many minds, Africa is a picture of hopeless misery: afflicted by poverty, scarred by corruption and ravaged by Aids and war. These facts are true, but they tell only half the story. In many sub-Saharan African countries output briskly outpaced population growth during the last decade, leading to sustained growth in income per capita and promising a lasting escape from poverty. [...] Development aid can do ill as well as good; the long-term goal must be to get rid of it. But that is no argument against short-term crisis assistance, which has been provided – quickly – to small and relatively rich European countries; many African countries need the same. [...] The potential cost of the crisis in Africa is not just unemployment; it is starvation, civil war and the closing of an escape route from poverty. That is a price the world cannot afford to pay.
Financial Times
Hunger in the news
17 March 2009

Help Kenya Help the Somalis

It is a cliché that Somalia is one of the most dangerous places in the world. The perils posed by pirates offshore and by bandits and politically motivated armed groups on the mainland are well known. Less appreciated is the scale of the continuous migration from Somalia and its regional implications. [...] Kenya is a signatory of the United Nations Refugee Convention, and all Somalis who make it to Kenya are recognized as "prima facie" refugees -- that is, they need not go through individual interviews to determine their refugee status. Once registered by the U.N. office for refugees, UNHCR, they are entitled to food rations from the World Food Program. But not all goes smoothly. Two years ago, citing security concerns, Kenya closed its border with Somalia. Since then almost 100,000 Somalis fleeing war and drought have still managed to sneak into Kenya. However, since all crossings are now illegal, those refugees who make it to Kenya do not go through the official reception center that made the whole process more orderly.
Wall street Journal
Hunger in the news
17 March 2009

Interview with William Hart, World Food Programme Country Director for Nicaragua

Numerous natural disasters have taken their toll on the country of Nicaragua and its economy. [...] WFP is running school feeding programs as part of the strategy for lifting the country out of poverty. However, there is not enough funding to provide school meals to every child in the country. William Hart, the WFP country director for Nicaragua, provides a detailed update on the status of school feeding.

BlogCritics Magazine
Hunger in the news
17 March 2009

Obama needs to make hunger top priority

On May 20, 1946 a man walked into an emergency food collection center in Cincinnati, Ohio to make a donation. Cincinnati, like many cities and towns, was trying to help people in Europe and Asia suffering from food shortages in the aftermath of World War II. The man gave 30 dollars to help this effort. [...] Today's generation must show the same spirit in tackling the current global food crisis. This is no easy task, especially when you consider the ongoing financial emergency that has struck everyone, but as Josette Sheeran of the UN World Food Programme (WFP) points out, "As we take care of Wall Street and Main Street, we can't forget the places that have no streets." As President, Barack Obama will need to show leadership in fighting hunger.
Los Angeles Chronicle

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