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
1 March 2009

Gaza aid troubled by logistics, closures, disunity

Palestinians hoping to raise $2.8 billion to rebuild Gaza at a conference in Egypt on Monday will find the path to reconstruction blocked by political and logistical factors, relief agencies say. Egypt, which called for the gathering soon after Israel halted its Gaza offensive in January, says leaders from some 70 countries will attend including the presidents of France and Italy, and foreign ministers from Britain and the United States. But the Islamist Hamas movement which runs Gaza is not invited. Donors will seek to ensure no money reaches the group, and there is no guarantee that Gaza's borders will be opened to let sufficient supplies flow in. [...] Daly Belgasmi, the regional director of the U.N.'s World Food Programme (WFP), said: "It's quite challenging ... but we are working closely with Israel to coordinate our movement". The United States is expected to pledge more than $900 million at the conference, but Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also stressed that any aid must not benefit Hamas, which the U.S. deems a terrorist organisation.
Reuters
Hunger in the news
1 March 2009

Interview: Jakob Mikkelsen of the UN World Food Programme in Ethiopia

[...] The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) recently reported that drought and high food prices [in Ethiopia] have pushed 12 million people into hunger. For struggling families, knowing that their child is ensured a meal at school is an important safety net in times of crisis. As part of a long-term strategy to eliminate the high poverty rate in the country, school feeding is essential. The World Food Programme is working to help make sure every child in Ethiopia can receive a school lunch. Jakob Mikkelsen, a WFP representative in Ethiopia, talks about the importance of school feeding.
BlogCritics Magazine
Hunger in the news
1 March 2009

Robert Mugabe vows to continue farm seizures

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe told followers at his lavish birthday party to respect the new power-sharing government but vowed to press on with seizures of white farms. The extravagant celebrations were held against a backdrop of economic ruin and came weeks after the veteran leader joined a unity government with long-time rival Morgan Tsvangirai. [...] Land reforms have been blamed for the food crisis in the former grain exporter as many of the beneficiaries lack both the skills and means to farm. [...] The country is [...] battling severe food shortages amid hyperinflation which has rendered the Zimbabwean dollar useless. The World Food Programme reported last month that the number of people without food was estimated at 6.9 million -- more than half the population.
The Australian / AFP
Hunger in the news
28 February 2009

Interview: Giorgia Testolin, Country Director of the World Food Programme - Djibouti

In the Horn of Africa, the country of Djibouti struggles to produce its own food due to successive droughts. The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) reports that Djibouti’s population of about 632,000 depends entirely on imported food. With high poverty and low education levels within the country, WFP has been implementing school feeding programs. Giorgia Testolin, Country Director of WFP Djibouti, talks about this Food for Education initiative.
BlogCritics Magazine
Hunger in the news
27 February 2009

Candian help sought for food security

The Ministry of Food and Agriculture seeks collaboration of Canada in various sectors of agriculture development including food security, improvement in storage facility particularly for wheat, rice and maize. These views were discussed during a meeting among High Commissioner of Canada Randolph Mank, Federal Minister for Food and Agriculture Nazar Mohammad Gondal and senior officials of the ministry here today. [...] The High Commissioner of Canada, Randolph Mank expressed his interest in trade of food, Canadian beef, cooperation in agriculture education through University of Gulf and fish farming in Karachi. The ambassador said Japan would give $7 million under World Food Programme aid to Pakistan soon.
Daily Times (Pakistan)
Hunger in the news
27 February 2009

Nepal not likely to reduce its reliance on imports: WFP

Nepal is unlikely to overcome - in the near future - the key challenge of increasing agricultural production and reducing reliance on imports, which have made the country particularly susceptible to rising global prices during 2008, said a report of World Food Programme (WFP).
Nepal News
Hunger in the news
27 February 2009

India tops world hunger chart

India is failing its rural poor with 230 million people being undernourished — the highest for any country in the world. Malnutrition accounts for nearly 50% of child deaths in India as every third adult (aged 15-49 years) is reported to be thin (BMI less than 18.5). According to the latest report on the state of food insecurity in rural India, more than 1.5 million children are at risk of becoming malnourished because of rising global food prices. [...] Brought out by the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), the report points to some staggering figures. More than 27% of the world's undernourished population lives in India while 43% of children (under 5 years) in the country are underweight. The figure is among the highest in the world and is much higher than the global average of 25% and also higher than sub-Saharan Africa's figure of 28%.
Times of India
Hunger in the news
27 February 2009

Economy overshadows Asean summit

The impact of the global financial crisis on South-East Asia and worries over food security are expected to dominate talks at a meeting of regional leaders gathering for a summit in Thailand. Leaders from the 10-member Association of South-East Asian Nations (Asean) began three days of meetings in the beach resort town of Hua Hin on Friday. [...] Although land in the 10 Asean nations is largely fertile, there has been a growing trend of richer nations buying up large tracts of land to feed their own people. It is a practise that is worrying humanitarian agencies who fear it threatens the food supplies of local populations, leaving poorer nations at risk of hunger and food insecurity. [...] "You're seeing wealthier nations investing in buying land in South-East Asia… looking not simply to enrich the local communities, but rather to build very large food plantations that will essentially remove the food that is produced from the local economy and take it to wealthier nations," Paul Risley, Thailand-based spokesman of the World Food Programme, told Al Jazeera.
Al Jazeera
Hunger in the news
27 February 2009

Up to 85,000 people to flee Sri Lanka war

Up to 85,000 civilians trapped in northeastern Sri Lanka could flee the war zone in coming weeks as the army closes in on rebel-held territory, the United Nations refugee agency said on Friday. [...] Some 36,000 displaced Sri Lankans have already fled to government-controlled areas of Vavuniya and Jaffna, according to the U.N.'s World Food Programme (WFP), which delivered 40 metric tonnes of food by tugboat to the northern government-designated safe zone in the Vanni area on Thursday. It was its first delivery in six weeks after WFP land convoys were interrupted by the fighting on January 16, WFP spokeswoman Emilia Casella said. The agency hopes to deliver up to 300 metric tonnes of food per week, she said.
International Herald Tribune / Reuters
Hunger in the news
27 February 2009

Archbishops launch joint appeal for aid for Zimbabweans

THE ARCHBISHOPS of Canterbury and York have launched an appeal for money to help Anglican dioceses and parishes in Zimbabwe distribute food and medical aid. Half the population was now at risk of starvation, and the human itarian crisis was “at an appalling level”, Dr Williams said. The Archbishops’ joint appeal from Lambeth Palace was broadcast on the BBC News on Ash Wednes day, already designated by the Prim ates of the Anglican Communion as a day of prayer and fasting for Zimbabwe. Deaths from cholera had climbed to almost 4000 in the past couple of weeks, Dr Williams said. [...] The appeal comes as many donor countries have reduced their aid because of the political deal that has been struck. The World Food Pro gramme has consequently had to cut back its distribution to Zimbabwe, even though an estimated seven million people are at risk of starva tion. Donors wanted to see the results of the new political arrange ments before committing them selves, the Archbishops suggested.
Church Times

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