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
10 March 2009

Zambia: Food Vouchers Not Enough to Fight Hunger

In an attempt to mitigate rising food insecurity and malnutrition, the Zambian government and the World Food Programme (WFP) have started to hand out food vouchers to the country’s urban poor. The programme was launched in February after agricultural experts forecast a shortfall in this year’s maize yields, Zambia’s staple food. [...] Civil society groups are concerned, however, that the food voucher programme is merely an emergency intervention that will fail to bring long-term, sustainable change to the country’s capacity to feed its population of twelve million. Instead, they ask for direct, financial support of Zambia’s one million small-scale farmers to increase local food production.
Inter Press Service (IPS)
Hunger in the news
10 March 2009

China: UN should consult Sudan as groups expelled

China urged the United Nations on Tuesday to consult with the Sudanese government to stem a humanitarian crisis after the African nation expelled 13 aid groups that were helping millions in the conflict-wracked Darfur region. Sudan kicked out more than half of the aid workers in Darfur after the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for President Omar al-Bashir on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur. Khartoum accused the aid groups of cooperating with the Netherlands-based ICC. The World Food Program says some 1.1 million of the 2-3 million people it feeds in Sudan each month are dependent on deliveries from the groups that have been expelled
International Herald Tribune / AP
Hunger in the news
10 March 2009

UN tries to fill gaps left by Darfur aid expulsion

U.N. agencies and other organizations allowed to remain in Darfur don't have the resources to fully replace the activities of 13 expelled aid groups who were helping millions in the conflict-wracked region, the U.N.'s humanitarian chief said. The United Nations will try to fill life-threatening gaps left by Sudan's expulsion of more than half the aid workers from Darfur, John Holmes, the U.N. undersecretary-general for humanitarian affairs, said Monday. [...] Assets of international NGOs have been confiscated including vehicles and computers, vital data for assistance to beneficiaries and food and non-food items, he said. There also have been cases of intimidation by some Sudanese officials toward NGO staff facing expulsion, he said. Holmes said one or two warehouses containing food from the U.N. World Food Program which was going to be distributed by NGOs were also quickly seized by local Sudanese authorities. "We have been assured that these assets will be returned to us quickly," he said.
International Herald Tribune / AP
Hunger in the news
10 March 2009

Bill Clinton, UN chief seek aid for Haiti

Bill Clinton and U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon are trying to refocus international attention on Haiti with a visit Monday they hope will lure more aid to keep the impoverished country from sliding back into chaos. The former U.S. president and the U.N. chief toured the run-down capital and were meeting with Haitian officials who have been struggling with high food prices and a devastating series of storms during a period of relative political calm in the Caribbean country. [...] The delegation that includes Haitian-born singer Wyclef Jean stopped at a school in the capital's rough Cite Soleil neighborhood, once the site of violent clashes between gangs and U.N. peacekeepers, to view a food program for children. Clinton said he was pleased to see efforts such as the program, run by Jean's charity, Yele Haiti, and U.N. World Food Program.
Forbes / AP
Hunger in the news
10 March 2009

Madagascar: Army threatens to intervene

Ahead of a planned three-day National Consultative Conference to resolve Madagascar’s deep political turmoil, the country’s senior military commander warned on 10 March that the army will step in and impose order if a solution is not found within 72 hours. [...] As looting on the streets of Antananarivo continues and the security situation deteriorates, NGO’s are preparing themselves for a potential humanitarian crisis. The United Nations World Food Programme has expanded food distribution operations in the country. “There is a greater demand for nutritional aid since the crisis began,” Krystyna Bednarska, head of the WFP in Madagascar told IRIN. “The problems mean that people can’t work. Many have lost their jobs and it is the most vulnerable people that are being affected.”
IRIN News
Hunger in the news
10 March 2009

UN Aid Agencies Urge Sudanese Government Not to Expel NGOs

The United Nations is urging the government of Sudan to reverse its decision to expel 13 leading international aid organizations from Darfur and to terminate the work of three national agencies in that conflict-ridden province. U.N. agencies say the decision will have devastating consequences for hundreds of thousands of people. [...] The World Food Program says four international NGOs distribute 35 percent of its food aid to more than one million people in Darfur. They also have been providing food to 5,500 malnourished children and mothers in need of supplementary and therapeutic feeding. WFP spokeswoman Emilia Casella says these agencies have been distributing food in 130 locations in Darfur. She says the World Food Program is unable, by itself, to fill this huge gap. "So, unless NGOs can operate normally, people will go hungry, thirsty and growing numbers of sick and malnourished will go untreated," she said. "We are joining with our other sister agencies and partners urging the government of Sudan to rescind its decision in view of the potential grave impact on millions of vulnerable people in Darfur and elsewhere in northern Sudan."
Voice of America News
Hunger in the news
10 March 2009

UN sets up second joint office in Liberia

The opening of a joint United Nations office in a provincial capital of Liberia will boost cooperation in international support to the West African country, which is recovering from a devastating 14-year civil war, a UN official said Monday. The five agencies are the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the World Health Organization (WHO), the World Food Programme (WFP), the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). The organizations will carry out joint assessments, planning, programming, implementing and monitoring of projects in the county, creating an opportunity for the UN to maximize the effectiveness of its expertise for the benefit of the people, said Jordan Ryan, the deputy UN Envoy in Liberia.
People's Daily
Hunger in the news
10 March 2009

UN To Send Assessment Missions To Darfur - Official

The U.N. and Sudan will send three joint missions to assess critical humanitarian needs after Khartoum expelled 13 non-governmental organizations, a U.N. official said Tuesday. "The United Nations and the Sudanese government agreed on 8 March that three joint U.N.-government teams composed of experts from both sides will visit Darfur to conduct an assessment of critical short-term needs," said Elisabeth Byrs, spokeswoman for the U.N. bureau for coordination of humanitarian affairs, or OCHA. She said the teams would look at four areas: food, nutrition, water and emergency shelter. [...] According to the World Food Program, four of its partner NGOs - Action Against Hunger, Save the Children USA, Solidarites and Care International which were expelled, took care of 35% of its food distribution in Darfur. "The WFP does not have the capacity to fill this gap," said Emilia Casella, the agency's spokeswoman. "Unless the NGOs are allowed to resume their activities, people are going to go hungry," said Casella.
Nasdaq / AFP
Hunger in the news
9 March 2009

Seeking A Samaritan

Are you an SWF at the WFP, looking for an LDR with an FWB who might be WTR to Angola or Brazil? If so, Humanitarian Dating could be the social network for you. The site's the brainchild of veteran aid worker Robert Simpson; several years back, he decided to vent work frustrations in typical style—by starting a satirical blog about an incompetent humanitarian worker. On it, he posted phony adverts, including one for a singles service. When the fake ad started getting real traffic, he realized he'd stumbled upon an untapped need in the development community—hooking up lonely-hearts with social consciences.
Newsweek
Hunger in the news
9 March 2009

Afghanistan: Government fails to deliver promised winter wheat aid

Less than 30 percent of the 166,000 tonnes of wheat the Afghan government promised to distribute to tens of thousands of people during the winter months (October-March) has been delivered so far, according to the Afghanistan National Disasters Management Authority (ANDMA). With only two a few weeks till the end of the cold season, the government is yet to source and deliver over 115,000 tonnes of wheat to people affected by drought, high food prices and conflict. [...] Several government bodies, including the ministries of commerce, rural rehabilitation and development, as well as ANDMA, were tasked with implementing the national winter aid programme, in collaboration with international aid agencies such as the UN World Food Programme (WFP).
IRIN News

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