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
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
Hunger in the news
9 March 2009

Ending Child Hunger: School Feeding in Pakistan

In Pakistan, "almost 85 percent of the population live on a marginal income of less than US$ 2 per day," according to the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP). Food for Education is a key strategy for helping the impoverished in this nation of over 140 million people, most living in rural areas. Food for Education programs provide school feeding and also take-home rations for children. This is critical to ending hunger and poverty in any country. Let's take a closer look at school feeding with Wolfgang Herbinger, the country director for WFP in Pakistan.
California Chronicle
Hunger in the news
9 March 2009

Major Challenges Remain for Global Food Security

While much of the publicity surrounding the global recession has focused on people losing their jobs or retirement savings, the nightmare is even more immediate for hundreds of millions of others who live at the edge of survival. They go to bed hungry. Food relief agencies say 2008 was among the toughest for the world's less fortunate because food prices for much of the year were so high. The price of food is just one problem preventing people from getting enough to eat. [...] "I brought a cup," Josette Sheeran says, "to point out that for the world's most vulnerable who often have access to this much food a day, with food prices doubling, that was cut in half," she said. Josette Sheeran is the executive director of the United Nations' World Food Program. She spoke in Washington about the global food crisis. A new study by the Chatham House research institute in London found global food prices actually eased significantly in the second half of 2008.
Voice of America News
Hunger in the news
9 March 2009

Sudan Can't Fill Gaps From Expelled Aid Groups: U.N.

The Sudanese government lacks sufficient capacity to do the work of the aid groups it has ordered out of the country's war-ravaged Darfur region, the top U.N. humanitarian affairs official said on Monday. [...] Sudan's U.N. Ambassador Abdalmahmoud Abdalhaleem on Friday told reporters that the Sudanese government would have no problem filling in any gaps in aid distribution created by the expulsion of the non-governmental organizations (NGOs). But U.N. humanitarian affairs chief John Holmes told reporters on Monday that this was not the case. [...] Holmes added that U.N. and NGO staff have faced harassment at the hands of Sudanese security forces, including "intimidatory behavior." He added that U.N. officials had complained about this to the government. "Assets of international NGOs have been confiscated, including in some cases United Nations assets I have to say, things like vehicles and computers, vital data for assistance to beneficiaries, ... food and non-food items," he said. Holmes said there were one or two warehouses containing World Food Program food seized by local authorities, which he hoped would be returned.
New York Times / Reuters
Hunger in the news
9 March 2009

WFP stops feeding over 210,000 displaced persons in war-ravaged N Uganda

The United Nations World Food Program (WFP) on Monday announced that it had stopped general food distributions for an estimated 214,000 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in war-torn northern Uganda. Stanlake Samkange, WFP Country Director, said in a statement that due to the "much improved security situation in the region", after over 20 years of war, the IDPs can now access farming land. He said the Global Acute Malnutrition in the region has also decreased and is now below 10 percent. [...] He said though the food aid agency has stopped the distribution, it will continue to monitor the food and nutrition security situation to avoid a relapse. "We will support phased-off IDPs through recovery initiatives including cash and vouchers, so as to help them rebuild their livelihoods," he said.
Xinhua
Hunger in the news
7 March 2009

South Sudan party condemns aid group expulsion

South Sudan's ruling party urged the Khartoum government on Saturday to reverse its decision to expel aid agencies that it had accused of passing information to war crimes prosecutors. Khartoum shut down 13 foreign and three local aid groups this week after the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for Sudan's President Omar Hassan al-Bashir to face charges of war crimes in Darfur. Aid groups deny the allegation. Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) spokesman Yien Matthew said the expulsion would have a devastating impact on tens of thousands of displaced Darfuris. [...] U.N. agencies rely on aid groups to deliver much of their food aid and other assistance to people on the ground, so the expulsions will also hit programmes run by the World Food Programme and other bodies. The expulsions did not affect agencies in southern Sudan.
International Herald Tribune / Reuters

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