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

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
Hunger in the news
17 March 2009

U.N. aid workers freed after kidnap in Somalia

Four U.N. humanitarian workers kidnapped on Monday by gunmen in southern Somalia have been freed, hardline Islamist insurgents and the United Nations said. "I can confirm to you that all four aid workers were released from militia who abducted them in Wajid this morning -- unconditionally after a joint effort," al Shabaab spokesman Sheikh Muktar Robow Mansoor told Reuters. The United Nations said a small, independently operating group had seized a Somali national working in Wajid and three foreign staff members en route to Kenya from the semi-autonomous northern Somali region of Puntland. [...] Somalia is one of the most dangerous countries in the world for aid workers, who have been the targets of assassinations and kidnappings during a two-year insurgency led by Islamist insurgents against the government and foreign backers. The U.N.'s World Food Program has continued to deliver food aid in areas of Somalia controlled by al Shabaab, which is on Washington's list of foreign terrorist groups.
Washington Post
Hunger in the news
17 March 2009

UN Forced to Cut Off Humanitarian Air Service to West Africa

The World Food Program warns the United Nations will be forced to close its West African Humanitarian Air Service on Friday because it has run out of money. WFP says the service flies UN and private aid agency humanitarian workers, journalists and others to some of the hardest-to-reach emergency operations in the world. The World Food Program says aid operations in Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Ivory Coast will be seriously affected if the UN Humanitarian Air Service shuts down. In addition to these operations, WFP says programs in Chad, the Central African Republic and Ethiopia also are threatened with closure. [...] "What this really means is that aid agencies will not be able to get to the people who need help," said WFP Spokeswoman Emilia Casella. "It also means that the U.N. will not be in a position to do urgent medical and security evacuations in a timely manner in some of these areas."
Voice of America News
Hunger in the news
16 March 2009

Fighting hunger

The ongoing "Defeat Hunger, Fight Poverty" photo exhibition, at the China World Trade Center in Beijing, looks back on 30 years of cooperation between the United Nations World Food Program (WFP) and the Chinese government to eradicate hunger and poverty in China and other developing countries.
China Daily
Hunger in the news
16 March 2009

Gunmen kidnap four aid workers in south Somalia

Gunmen kidnapped four aid workers in southern Somalia on Monday, including one believed to be foreign, a humanitarian source said. "The aid workers were in transit in Wajid, where they spent the night on the way from Puntland. They were taken early on Monday morning," a U.N. worker, who declined to be named, told Reuters, adding that some worked for the U.N. World Food Programme.
Reuters
Hunger in the news
16 March 2009

Christian Science Monitor

The kidnapping of three Western aid workers in Sudan's Darfur region marks a significant escalation of insecurity for relief agencies deployed in the conflict-ridden area. Canadian nurse Laura Archer, Italian doctor Mauro D'Ascanio, and French coordinator Raphaël Meunier, as well as their Sudanese watchman Sharif Mohamadin, all working for Médecins Sans Frontières, or Doctors Without Borders, were safely released Saturday by unknown gunmen after three days in captivity. A rebel leader and analysts say the kidnapping and recent expulsion of 13 aid groups are part of a government strategy to scare away remaining aid workers and break up camps housing Sudanese civilians who have fled the war.
Christian Science Monitor
Hunger in the news
16 March 2009

First North Korean pizzeria opens

North Korea's first pizzeria has opened in the capital Pyongyang, according to a Japan-based newspaper. Chefs were sent to Italy for training by leader Kim Jong-il, who said North Koreans should be able to try the world's best foods, said Choson Sinbo. Most people in the secretive communist state live on an income of about $1,800 (£1,265) a year, but a wealthy elite can afford a more luxurious lifestyle. [...] North Korea is among the world's poorest countries, relying on international food aid to feed its people. According to the World Food Programme, up to nine million North Koreans were facing urgent food shortages this winter.
BBC News

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