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
15 March 2009

Kenya to get Sh400m from Japan to fight hunger

Kenya is set to get Sh400 million ($5 million) from a new fund approved by Japanese Parliament to help feed the hungry in 21 countries. The country’s share is part of $124.2 million (Sh9.93 billion) Japan has donated through United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) to help alleviate high food prices in 19 African countries and Afghanistan Pakistan. WFP’s Japan Relations Office Director Mohamed Saleheen said the aid package proved Japan’s leadership in addressing the global food crisis. "Despite a sharp decline in international cereal prices, those in many developing countries are still very high, above the 2005 and 2007 levels," he said.
The Standard
Hunger in the news
14 March 2009

Interview: Louis Imbleau, World Food Programme Country Director in Liberia

Liberia is recovering from a civil war which lasted from 1989-2003. The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) reports, “The war displaced nearly one million Liberians, left the country’s infrastructure in shreds and wiped out health and education systems.” [...] As George Marshall once said, "Food is the very basis of all reconstruction," and this holds true for Liberia. But without enough funding and support, programs like Food for Education will not be available for all children. Louis Imbleau, the country director for WFP in Liberia, discusses how important school meals are for the children.
BlogCritics Magazine
Hunger in the news
14 March 2009

Row with US delays relief food

A consignment of maize from the United States intended to feed Kenyans facing starvation almost did not make it into the country because of a diplomatic dispute between the Kenyan and American governments. The Sunday Nation has learnt that before US Ambassador Michael Ranneberger received the maize worth Sh780 million in Mombasa on Friday, there had been a lot of communication between the Kenyan and US governments after a Kenyan official stood in the way of clearing the food. [...] In January, President Kibaki launched an appeal to the international community to supply Sh37 billion of relief food. Several Western diplomats responded by expressing concern over what they viewed as the government’s failure to stem corruption. Britain has offered relief food to Kenya but will deliver it through the World Food Programme not the government.
The Daily Nation
Hunger in the news
14 March 2009

Seized Darfur aid workers freed

Three foreign aid workers abducted in the troubled Sudanese region of Darfur three days ago have been released. The Medecins Sans Frontieres staff - a French administrator, a Canadian nurse and an Italian doctor - were safely back in the Sudanese capital Khartoum. They were freed on Saturday along with a Sudanese national, having been abducted at gunpoint on Wednesday. "We are incredibly relieved that our colleagues are safe," said Christopher Stokes, a senior MSF official.
BBC News
Hunger in the news
13 March 2009

10 Ideas Changing the World Right Now

Take a moment to consider breakfast, the most important meal of the day. Maybe you grabbed a banana or ate a bowl of granola. Whatever it was, chances are that some — if not all — of your morning meal came from a country you don't live in. Food isolationism is dead. It collapsed in a messy, public heap last year when oil hit $100-plus per bbl. and the world's crush on biofuels pushed food prices to unprecedented highs. [...] 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 (Online)
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

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