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

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
Hunger in the news
9 March 2009

Nepal: Concerns over worsening food security

Agricultural experts are expressing concern that people in already food-insecure Nepal will have to further tighten their belts unless food, transport and other costs can be curbed. Local food traders told IRIN that in 2008 prices of the main staple, rice, had increased by 24 percent, cooking oil by 30 percent and wheat flour by 18 percent. [...] “My biggest concern is for people living on the margins and caught up in a situation where inflation is severely impacting them,” Richard Ragan, Nepal country representative of the UN World Food Programme (WFP), told IRIN. According to the government’s national bank, Rastriya Bank, food inflation outpaced that in India last year, reaching 17 percent compared to only 10 percent in India. “Many people are skipping meals and eating less nutritious food,” said Ragan.
IRIN News
Hunger in the news
9 March 2009

Simply Distribute

The number of hungry people in India far outstrips those that live in any other country in the world, says the UN World Food Programme (WFP) report prepared jointly with the M S Swaminathan Research Foundation. Coming down heavily on the targeted public distribution system (TPDS) as a programme that has failed to serve intended goals, the report says it has only led to greater food insecurity for the poor. [...] Present approaches have patently failed in curbing malnutrition. Innovative strategies to tackle the problem must be put in place.
Times of India
Hunger in the news
9 March 2009

Brown to address 'poverty summit'

Britain will contribute to a new World Bank fund for the poorest countries, Gordon Brown is expected to confirm on Monday. The fund calls on the richest nations to finance it with 0.7% of the money they have used to bail out the banks. The prime minister will address a two-day conference in London a month ahead of the G20 summit of the world's biggest economies. The conference, being billed as a "poverty summit", has been called to ensure the poorest people are not forgotten in the response to the global economic downturn. It will include contributions from Sir Bob Geldof, as well as leaders of aid organisations and senior figures from the World Bank and World Food Programme.
BBC News
Hunger in the news
9 March 2009

Watching Darfuris Die

The first gauntlet thrown at President Obama didn’t come from Iran, Russia or China. Rather, it came from Sudan, in its decision to expel aid groups that are a lifeline keeping more than a million people alive in Darfur. [...] More than one million people depend directly on the expelled aid groups for health care, food and water. I’ve been in these camps, so let me offer an educated guess about what will unfold if this expulsion stands. The biggest immediate threat isn’t starvation, because that takes time. Rather, the first crises will be disease and water shortages, particularly in West Darfur. [...] “This is a whole new kind of hell for the people of Darfur,” Josette Sheeran, the head of the United Nations World Food Program, told me. “The life bridge for more than a million people has just been dismantled.
New York Times
Hunger in the news
9 March 2009

Congestion at Djibouti Port Makes Transport Cost Hit the Roof

This is a season when a series of vessels loaded with tens of thousands of tons of aid cargo and fertilizer arrive at the Port of Djibouti all at the same time. This time around though, there are two additions to the cargo - a huge amount of cement and tens of thousand of wheat government has imported to stabilize domestic prices - contributing to what industry operators say is an already congested the port. [...] The most affected are not only businesses. Aid cargo is not flowing as much as it should, creating uncertainty about the distribution of relief inside the country. Warehouses inside the Port of Djibouti and elsewhere in the town used by the World Food Programme (WFP) are all full, observers there disclosed. This was confirmed by WFP officials in Addis. "A large quantity of WFP's food is at the port," Paulette Jones, WFP spokeswoman in Addis Abeba, was quoted by IRIN last week. "These [food] commodities are needed urgently to assist beneficiaries who are still suffering from the impact of the drought, high food prices and [low] global food stocks."
All Africa / Addis Fortune

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