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
5 March 2009

US lawmakers urge tighter Palestinian aid controls

US lawmakers demanded Thursday that the United Nations impose tighter controls on the UN agency that manages aid to the Palestinians to ensure no US funds end up in the pockets of extremists. "The United Nations should take immediate steps to improve the transparency and accountability of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA)," said Democratic Representative Steve Rothman. [...] Republican Representative Mark Kirk blasted UNRWA's accounting practices as likely to enable the Palestinian military group Hamas to syphon off some of a new US aid pledge of 900 million dollars for the West Bank and Gaza. If the group managed to grab 10 percent of that package, "the United States taxpayer would be then the number-two financial supporter of Hamas after the government of Iran," he said. Kirk said he would rather see the funds go through the US Agency for International Development, the World Food Program, or the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. "If we insist on providing these funds we should provide them to reputable foreign assistance organizations who are operating under American standards of transparency and accountability," he said.
Agence France Presse (AFP)
Hunger in the news
4 March 2009

In China, Despair Among Migrant Workers

Li Jiang was hungry. Huddled in the freezing rain with more than 1,000 other people at 6 a.m., he stood patiently in line hoping he had come early enough to get some of the free rice porridge steaming in giant cauldrons nearby. [...] Six months into what economists and labor experts say is China's worst job crisis since it began market reforms 30 years ago, many among the most vulnerable -- an estimated 20 million workers who lost their jobs after migrating from the countryside to cities -- are becoming desperate. [...] Food lines like the one in Yiwu recall the worst period in modern Chinese economic history -- the 1958-61 famine that resulted from the Great Leap Forward, when, as part of a plan to transform a largely agrarian society into an industrialized one, millions abandoned their farms to work in factories, leading to food shortages. China is not in any danger of that happening again. Since then, the country has kept generous reserves of grains, pork and other staples, and it has an estimated $2 trillion in foreign exchange reserves that it can use to buy the food it needs from elsewhere.
Washington Post
Hunger in the news
4 March 2009

UN food program presses on amid global recession

Amid a financial recession that is impacting the globe, the World Food Programme continues to raise money and awareness about the world hunger crisis that is affecting about 1 billion people who are living on a dollar a day, according to one UN advisor. "Hunger is a silent emergency," said Douglas Coutts, senior advisor for the UN World Food Programme, at a keynote speech in the Lory Student Center on Tuesday afternoon. Coutts said that the recession has impacted the World Food Programme's funding, but donors have increased their contributions in order to make up for that deficit. "Young people make the biggest impact because people pay attention to them." Coutts said.
Rocky Mountain Collegian
Hunger in the news
4 March 2009

Amuru has dire education needs

Amuru District recorded the worst performance in last year’s Primary Leaving Examinations in Acholi sub-region because students are hungry. This was revealed by district Inspector of Schools Richard Irwenyo. He said pupils walk distances of up 7 kilometers and yet study on empty stomachs. In a bid to address the issue of hunger in schools, World Food Programme (WFP) in conjunction with the Ministry of Education have launched a strategy to feed school-going children in Amuru district. WFP Country Director Stanlake Samkange said that ensuring that parents send children to school with packed lunch is a cornerstone of this campaign.
Daily Monitor
Hunger in the news
4 March 2009

Ethiopia: Urgent food supplies stuck in Djibouti

Beneficiaries of food aid in Ethiopia could face tougher times unless supplies that are stuck in Djibouti port arrive quickly in the country, sources said. Officials blamed congestion at Djibouti port, land-locked Ethiopia's main access to the sea, but insisted the situation was improving. [...] "A large quantity of WFP's [UN World Food Programme] food is at the port," Paulette Jones, WFP spokeswoman in Addis Ababa, said. "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."
IRIN News
Hunger in the news
4 March 2009

Aid in the downturn - In need of more

Among the raft of big proposals on domestic spending in Barack Obama’s maiden budget was a subtle indication of a shift in America’s priorities—a promise to double the country’s aid budget, eventually. [...] This is welcome news at an uncertain times for foreign-aid flows. But without similar moves by other rich countries, an increase in American aid will not be enough to offset the effects of the financial crisis and economic slump. The need for aid is increasing as the downturn worsens the already parlous condition of the poor across the developing world. [...] Trade, which created jobs for the low-skilled in developing countries, is collapsing at a rapid rate: 2009 is likely to see the first decline in trade flows since a small dip in 1982. And farmers in poor countries are facing the effects of a dramatic crash in food prices.
The Economist
Hunger in the news
4 March 2009

Ghana: Nutritionist Worried Over High Cases of Malaria

THE DEPUTY Chief Nutrition Officer and Programme Manager of the Nutrition Malaria Control for Child Survival Project (NMCCSP) at the Nutrition Department of the Ghana Health Service, Headquarters, Accra, Madam Hannah Adjei, has expressed concern over the high incidence of malaria among children. Speaking at a forum in Bolgatanga, the nutritionist said malaria remained the single largest killer of children, accounting for about 26% of deaths, and 40% of out-patient and hospital admission cases. [...] The Upper East Regional Acting Nutrition Officer, Madam Fati Wasai-Bobtoya, identified disease, poverty and hunger, as the major causes of severe malaria and malnutrition among children. She said when children were malnourished, it took a very long time for them to recover, and that there was the need for all and sundry to play pivotal roles to deal with the situation. Madam Wasai-Bobtoya thanked the World Food Programme for its emergency food supply towards improving the nutrition status of malnourished children at the various rehabilitation centres across the region.
All Africa / The Chronicle (Ghana)
Hunger in the news
4 March 2009

IMF lists 26 'highly vulnerable' countries

The International Monetary Fund has warned that the global financial crisis had shifted to the world's poorest nations and 22 countries may need as much as $25 billion in additional funding in 2009 to cope with the economic downturn. The IMF said, based on its projections, the 22 countries could need up to $140 billion if global conditions were to deteriorate sharply. "I foresee mounting problems for developing countries," IMF Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn said, calling it the "third wave" of the crisis, which has spread from financial and credit markets into the consumer economy. He said he expected more countries to turn to the fund for financing and those with IMF aid packages to increase their borrowing. [...] Developing countries have been affected by falling demand for exports and a dramatic slowing in remittances from overseas workers as the economies of the United States and Europe have contracted. A sharp drop in foreign direct investment is expected in about half of all low-income countries. Strauss-Kahn said the decline in food and fuel prices should provide some relief to countries as inflation declines
Irish Times / Reuters
Hunger in the news
4 March 2009

Rising Temperatures Threatening Livelihoods

The ice caps on the Rwenzori Mountains along Uganda's western border have receded significantly in the past century and could disappear completely in the next few years, experts said. [...] South-western Uganda, where temperatures have risen by 0.3 degrees in a decade, is one of the hardest-hit areas in terms of disease outbreaks, especially malaria," Gwage said. A two-degree rise in temperature, he added, would see many areas in Uganda losing their main livelihood of cash crops, including coffee. Other crops such as cassava and soya would be affected by new pests, despite being staple crops. [...] Karamoja, in north-eastern Uganda, experiences cycles of natural disasters and inter-communal conflicts mainly over pasture, water and livestock. It has received very limited investment. In February, the UN World Food Programme noted it was on the brink of a humanitarian catastrophe, after drought cut agricultural output to as low as 30 percent in some areas in 2008
All Africa / IRIN
Hunger in the news
4 March 2009

Uganda: Karamuzi Beat the Challenges of Widowhood to Become Model Farmer

The accident that claimed her husband in 1997 left her a changed woman. With five children to take care of single-handed, Perry Karamuzi realised she had to put aside self-pity and move on. [...] Karamuzi had a number of Friesian cows but she sold them for school fees and remained with one which she zero-grazes. She gets 15 litres of milk from her heifer. "The benefits in zero-grazing are many," she says. "A farmer who practises zero-grazing will never lack manure for their crops." She also has 10 local breed goats. At Karamuzi's home there is no wastage; she puts everything to use. [...] Because of her hard work, in 1994 the district nominated her as a model farmer and she was chosen to host the World Food Programme celebrations.
All Africa / New Vision

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