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
13 March 2009

Salt of this earth

[...] Iraq’s agriculture sector – which currently employs about 40 per cent of working Iraqis with jobs – is in serious trouble. Droughts have rendered much formerly lush land salty and useless. Wheat production has dropped by over 50 per cent. According to the Ministry of Agriculture, the country is losing five per cent of its farmable land each year, and 2008 was the first year in modern Iraqi history that the country was a net food importer. Oxfam and the World Food Program have noted nationwide malnutrition problems
The National (UAE)
Hunger in the news
13 March 2009

WFP gives $179 mln to Bangladesh's poorest for food

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) [will] provide $179 million over the next nine months to help Bangladesh's poorest people, who have been hard hit by high food prices and natural disasters. Around 259,592 tonnes of food commodities are expected to be procured and distributed among 5 million people in both urban and rural areas who are least able to feed their families, the WFP said in a statement.
Reuters
Hunger in the news
13 March 2009

Haiti still struggles with hurricane mud

A UN Security Council delegation is visiting the Haitian city of Gonaives to observe reconstruction efforts following the devastation of Hurricane Hanna six months ago. The BBC's Laura Trevelyan visits the storm-ravaged city, still struggling to recover. [...] The World Food Programme (WFP) has been building terraces up in the mountains, to catch the water should there be another hurricane. Gonaives could face similar problems again in the future Twelve thousand people have been working on the terraces, some paid in food. But now the funding for that programme has stopped, and so has the work. Jean-Pierre Mambounou of the WFP tells me: "Now we have stopped the work, the city is at risk. If we have another hurricane, we will be in trouble."
BBC News
Hunger in the news
13 March 2009

Rising food prices will devastate the bottom billion

Food security is non-negotiable; we must provide more food and we must ensure that people have access to it. We are not "out of the woods" in terms of the food crisis. Food prices have fallen since the highs of 2008, but for the world's "bottom billion" that record increase in food prices has had a devastating effect, pushing a further million people into food poverty. Maize is 100 per cent more expensive than a year ago, while the price of wheat in Afghanistan is 60 per cent higher. Food security will increasingly become an issue of peace and stability. [...] [Josette Sheeran, Executive Director of the World Food Programme, was speaking to a UK parliamentary group on agriculture earlier this week.]
The Independent
Hunger in the news
13 March 2009

As Indian Growth Soars, Child Hunger Persists

Small, sick, listless children have long been India’s scourge — “a national shame,” in the words of its prime minister, Manmohan Singh. But even after a decade of galloping economic growth, child malnutrition rates are worse here than in many sub-Saharan African countries, and they stand out as a paradox in a proud democracy. [...] A World Food Program report last month noted that India remained home to more than a fourth of the world’s hungry, 230 million people in all. It also found anemia to be on the rise among rural women of childbearing age in eight states across India. Indian women are often the last to eat in their homes and often unlikely to eat well or rest during pregnancy.
New York Times
Hunger in the news
13 March 2009

Sri Lanka on verge of defeating terrorism: Hillary Clinton

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton acknowledged that Sri Lanka is now on the verge of defeating terrorism, and that this presented a great opportunity to restore peace, leading to reconstruction and rehabilitation in the country, according to a statement issued by Sri Lanka's presidential office on Friday. She made the remarks when speaking to Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse by telephone Friday evening, said the statement. [...] Rajapakse said there were about 50,000 to 70,000 people still remaining in a very small area held by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), where the LTTE was preventing the people leaving for safety outside. [...] The government was regularly sending food and medicines to all persons in the affected areas, including those held by the LTTE, with the assistance of the ICRC (International Committee of the Red Cross) and the World Food Program, [he said].
Xinhua
Hunger in the news
13 March 2009

WFP to run pilot project in Zimbabwe: official

The World Food Program (WFP) will soon run a pilot project in Zimbabwe in which it would go into partnership with small scale farmers and buy produce from them, a senior WFP official said on Friday. Visiting WFP deputy executive director Sheila Sisulu said the world body will diversify and expand its programs to promote food self sufficiency in countries by moving away from being a mere aid organization to one that promotes food self sufficiency. [...] "We had a very good discussion with President Mugabe about the role of WFP," she said, adding that the meeting with Mugabe also touched on the need for the WFP to move to programs that promote self sufficiency. Sisulu arrived in the country on Monday and is expected to leave on Friday after a week long visit to the country where millions are depending on food aid for survival following consecutive years of poor harvests.
Xinhua
Hunger in the news
12 March 2009

Access to land improves women's lives

[...] Many of us in the U.S. don't think much about the direct relationship between land ownership and poverty — and how women are disproportionately affected by lack of land ownership. Women represent 51 percent of the world's population and provide 60 to 80 percent of food production in most developing countries. But they own less than 2 percent of the world's titled land, largely because few have legal rights to land.
Seattle Times
Hunger in the news
12 March 2009

Standoff over Sudan president could drag on

[...] President Omar al-Bashir's response to his indictment last week by the International Criminal Court has certainly been defiant: the immediate expulsion of nearly half the aid workers providing food, medicine and shelter to millions of victims of the 6-year-old war in the Darfur region. Many observers fear the small hopes for compromise have grown even smaller. The first international attempt to prosecute a sitting head of state is likely to turn into a long standoff, with the people of Darfur suffering the most.
Washington Post / AP
Hunger in the news
12 March 2009

Sri Lanka: UN denounces misuse of food destined for children

The UN has deplored the diversion of high-energy therapeutic food supplies intended for severely malnourished children to Liberation Tigers of Tamils Eelam (LTTE) fighters in combat zones in Sri Lanka’s north. A statement released on 11 March by the UN country office in Sri Lanka said that BP-100 high-energy biscuits found in the possession of a dead Tamil Tiger came from supplies targeted at severely malnourished children. “The UN deplores that such life-saving items, destined for severely malnourished children, were diverted from their intended purpose,” the statement said. [...] "The treatment of malnutrition among children remains a priority for Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Health, UNICEF and the World Food Programme.”
IRIN News

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