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
11 March 2009

WFP plans global fund to pre-buy food stocks

The U.N. World Food Programme plans to launch a global fund that will allow it to secure food stocks in advance rather than panic-buying when crises hit, the agency's chief said on Tuesday. Josette Sheeran, executive director of the world's largest humanitarian organisation, said the move would help bring predictability to food aid and prevent distortion of local markets already hit by food-price spikes and the financial meltdown. "One thing that was revealed last year was that even if we had the contributions (from donors), sometimes we could not buy the food, or we had to buy it from far away," she told Reuters in an interview. "We were buying food from Brazil to reach East Africa. That's a long trip." [...] "So we are looking at instituting an advanced-purchase facility ... where we can buy food and pre-position it six months ahead of the need and buy it when harvests are full, and not during the lean season. We have never been able to do this.
Reuters
Hunger in the news
11 March 2009

Ending Child Hunger: School Feeding in Malawi

School lunch programs can offer a calm in the storm of poverty in developing countries. Having children ensured a meal at school is a valuable safety net for poor families. The African nation of Malawi is one country that needs universal school feeding to overcome hunger and poverty. Romina Woldemariam, Deputy Head of the UN World Food Programme in Malawi, discussed this Food for Education initiative in an interview during 2008.
California Chronicle
Hunger in the news
11 March 2009

Our noble attempts to 'feed the world' are simply not working

In recent decades, it seemed the struggle against world hunger was finally meeting with some success. But the number of undernourished people is growing again. According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation, the number of hungry people in poor countries has increased by 109 million to 963 million since 2004. Unicef estimates that each day 300 million children go to bed hungry. Some 90% of these people are chronically hungry, meaning that their hunger is not due to a famine or war, but rather that they lack long-term access to sufficient amounts of food. [...] For most donor countries, the response is to ship food aid to poor countries. While the impulse is generous, food aid is a quick fix – it fills stomachs but does not provide an enduring solution to hunger and poverty. [...] Buying food aid locally, as the UN World Food Programme is increasingly doing, is [an] important step away from the inefficiency of food aid.
Our noble attempts to 'feed the world' are simply not working
Hunger in the news
11 March 2009

Short Film Calls for Global School Lunch Program To Help Fight World Hunger

The short film "Ending Child Hunger: School Lunches for Kids Around the World" is a call to action to end the hunger that afflicts over 300 million children worldwide. [...] The film begins by showing school lunch programs in Austria and Germany following World War II. It was those meals that were crucial to the recovery of Europe since they gave children nourishment, education, and hope. According to the United Nations World Food Programme director Josette Sheeran, "The goodwill done during post-World War II from Japan to Germany, France, Scandinavia and beyond helped build goodwill and stability for a generation." Sheeran, speaking at the International Food Aid Conference last year, added that a simple cup of food for children "has the power to transform lives" and that "throughout many decades, for children this becomes their most precious possession."
American Chronicle
Hunger in the news
11 March 2009

U.S. queries Israel's toilet-paper rules for Gaza

The United States is protesting to Israel over seemingly random restrictions on deliveries to the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip of harmless goods such as soap and toilet paper, diplomats said Wednesday. Diplomats fear day-to-day crisis management on Gaza was diverting the United States and other Western governments from bigger issues like the goal of restarting peace negotiations for a Palestinian state. In one case, Israel blocked for weeks a World Food Program (WFP) shipment of chickpeas, used to make the Palestinian food staple hummus, the U.N. food agency said.
Reuters
Hunger in the news
11 March 2009

UN says paralysed in Sudan without aid partners

The United Nations relies so heavily on outside groups to deliver aid in Darfur that Sudan's expulsion of 16 non-governmental organisations has paralysed as much as half of its programmes, officials said on Tuesday. While the World Food Programme, World Health Organisation and UNICEF were not among those ordered out after a Hague court issued a war crimes warrant for Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir, the U.N. agencies lost a lot of manpower when their aid partners were shut down last week. [...] Four of the shuttered NGOs -- CARE International, Save the Children U.S., Action Contre La Faim and Solidarites -- had distributed a third of the World Food Programme's aid in Darfur, regularly reaching 1.1 million people in 130 locations. "The WFP and other humanitarian agencies do not have the capacity to fill such a large gap," spokeswoman Emilia Casella told reporters. "Unless NGOs can operate normally, people will go hungry, thirsty, and growing numbers of sick and malnourished will go untreated."
Reuters
Hunger in the news
10 March 2009

Downturn will 'set back Millennium Goals'

The world's progress towards the internationally agreed Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) could be pushed back by at least three years by the "financial tsunami" sweeping across the world, Douglas Alexander, international development secretary, warns today. Reflecting growing global concern that the world's poorest countries will suffer the most from the recession, Alexander will also unveil research from the Department for International Development (DfID) predicting that another 90 million people will be pushed into poverty by the end of next year. Alexander is holding a conference in London today on the impact of the global economic downturn on poor countries and efforts to reduce carbon emissions. It will be attended by officials from global financial institutions as well as Bob Geldof and Lord Stern, author of the eponymous review on climate change.
The Guardian
Hunger in the news
10 March 2009

Virtual and Emergency Food Reserves Needed

[...] To prevent a repeat of the 2007-2008 international food price crisis, the G-8, along with a handful of other countries, should band together to form two food reserves, one real and one virtual.
US News and World Report
Hunger in the news
10 March 2009

WFP Scaling back Food Aid Program in NK

The World Food Program (WFP) says it is decreasing its number of international monitoring staff and closing down field offices in North Korea after failing to receive food aid from the U.S. According to the Voice of America Tuesday, the U.N. food agency must scale back its humanitarian food assistance program in the North after several months of funding shortfalls. The agency is currently operating a mere 15 percent of its planned operations. The WFP has received contributions of 22-point-seven million U.S. dollars, or about four-and-a-half percent of the 500 million dollar budget, for its planned emergency operations.
KBS
Hunger in the news
10 March 2009

From recipient to donor: WFP photo show marks 30-year cooperation with China

"I am deeply touched," exclaimed Liang Ni, a white-collar employee of a foreign company, as she stood at the China World Trade Center here Tuesday. She was viewing a photo exhibit hosted by the UN World Food Program (WFP) with the theme "Defeat Hunger, Fight Poverty" to commemorate its cooperation with the Chinese government over the past 30 years. "If only I could bring my child here," she said, pointing to a picture of Drew Barrymore, WFP Ambassador against Hunger, distributing food to starving children in Kenya. Liang said her 3-year-old daughter was a little picky about her meals. Photos like those on show would teach the young girl to appreciate food, she said. The photo that moved Liang was one of more than 100 in three sections. One depicts the WFP's efforts to help China combat poverty and hunger from 1979 to 2005. The second shows Chinese assistance to other countries through the WFP since 2006, while the third portrays renowned Chinese gymnast Li Ning, who witnessed how the Chinese aid was delivered in the Kingdom of Lesotho in Africa last December.
Xinhua

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