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
26 February 2009

Some advice for Ambassador Rice

From 2001 to 2008 I spent my days (and many nights) speaking for the United States at the United Nations. I was the longest serving American spokesman in history and it gave me a unique perspective on the United Nations and its relationship with its largest funder - the American taxpayer. The reality of how the U.N. works is not what some people on the right and the left would have you believe. As Susan Rice begins her tenure representing America at the U.N., she will find an institution in great need of change. [...] The best run agencies at the U.N. are the ones like UNICEF and the World Food Program where contributions are voluntary, not obligatory, and the top management are responsible to and held accountable by a board.
Washington Times
Hunger in the news
26 February 2009

Buenos Aires package aims to appease farmers

Argentina’s government has offered an olive branch to the country’s powerful farming sector in an attempt to head off a fresh conflict following a four-month dispute last year. The farmers are expecting their worst harvest in 40 years. At a meeting on Tuesday the government waived export tariffs on milk and granted subsidies to small producers. It also offered a subsidy to boost domestic wheat prices and promised to reopen the wheat export registry that it keeps under close control to protect the internal market. Tax breaks were offered to meat producers, along with aid to ranchers hit by drought.
Financial Times
Hunger in the news
26 February 2009

Deeper Understanding Needed of Food Shortage Challenges

U.S. Sen. Dick Lugar made the following remarks Wednesday at the Global Agricultural Development Project's release of the report: "Sustainable Foreign Assistance: Helping the World Feed Itself." [...] As we know, food prices began a steep climb in the Fall of 2007 and continued to increase during 2008. The increases pushed an additional 75 million people into poverty. While prices have abated somewhat, millions of people still face difficulty in food access and availability, and malnutrition rates in many parts of the world remain alarmingly high. We live in a world where nearly one billion people suffer from chronic food insecurity. The World Food Program reports that 25,000 people die each day from malnutrition-related causes.
USAgnet
Hunger in the news
26 February 2009

Little-known, dispersed and dying

How many people still live in Somalia? No one knows. The UN says around 10m. Just as Somalia’s problems of jihadism and piracy have gone global, so have its people. [...] Dozens of aid workers, campaigners and journalists, most of them locals, have been killed in the past year or so. Hundreds more have been beaten, threatened or forced into exile. [...] Just as this correspondent was about to visit southern Somalia with people from the UN’s World Food Programme, the trip was cancelled when two of the agency’s workers were shot dead and a third died on an airstrip waiting for medical help.
The Economist
Hunger in the news
26 February 2009

Zimbabwe Awaits US$500 Million Aid Infusion to End Cholera Epidemic

The United Nations inter-agency humanitarian mission that concluded its work in Zimbabwe this week has called for Harare and the international community to bolster efforts to end a relentless cholera epidemic and stave off hunger threatening much of the population. [...] Mission chief Catherine Bragg, U.N. assistant secretary-general for humanitarian affairs and deputy emergency relief coordinator, reiterated her appeal in a news conference Thursday in Johannesburg after summarizing her team's assessment Wednesday in Harare. [...] Elsewhere, the World Food Program said it is facing a funding shortfall of US$140 million in its emergency food distribution program for Zimbabwe. Organization spokeswoman Claudia Altorio told reporter Brenda Moyo that it is too early to predict the outcome of the 2009 harvest, but given the lack of inputs such as seed and fertilizer the agency is planning to keep providing food assistance up to 2010.
Voice of America News
Hunger in the news
25 February 2009

UN chief begins Africa trip noting finance worry

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon opened a nine-day African tour telling United Nations personnel Tuesday that the world's economic woes won't wreck their efforts to reduce poverty, war and effects of climate change. [...] Despite more than a half-trillion dollars of world aid spent on Africa in the 50 years since the first African countries won independence, many Africans are poorer now than a quarter century ago. Total aid to Africa from the world's richest nations amounts to less than one-third of 1 percent of their combined national incomes, far below the U.N. target of 0.7 percent. [...] Ban is exploring ways to expand U.N. help for Zimbabwe, given South Africa's powerful regional role. Mbeki remains the South African Development Community mediator on Zimbabwe, and the ANC is expected to win South Africa's national elections April 22. But Ban's travel plans do not include a visit to Zimbabwe, where the U.N.'s No. 2 humanitarian official has spent the past few days exploring ways of ramping up aid for that collapsing nation.
Washington Post / AP
Hunger in the news
25 February 2009

First Global Aviation Safety Conference acclaimed

Delegates to the first Global Aviation Safety Conference for Humanitarian Air Operations, held in Abu Dhabi at the end of last week, were unanimous in endorsing the event. The conference focused on aviation safety and the unique difficulties faced in transporting aid personnel and materials to sites that are often barely accessible. "This was an excellent forum to explore and share the problems and solutions inherent in airborne humanitarian operations," said Cesar Arroyo, head of aviation safety at the World Food Programme (WFP) which presented the conference.
AME Info
Hunger in the news
25 February 2009

WFP gets new country boss

The new Country Director and Representative of World Food Programme (WFP), Abdoulaye Balde, yesterday presented his credentials to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Rosemary Museminali. Balde, a Senegalese national, will be responsible for all WFP Rwanda programmes and operations. According to a statement issued by the WFP, Balde is expected to lead the WFP Rwanda team in implementing the three-year corporate strategic plan of 2008-2011; which will see WFP embark on a historical shift from a food aid agency to a food assistance agency. “Our new strategy aims at reducing dependency through supporting governmental and global efforts to ensure long term solutions for food security,” Balde is quoted in the WFP statement as saying.
The New Times (Rwanda)
Hunger in the news
25 February 2009

Zimbabwe crisis still grave: UN official

A top UN humanitarian official warned Wednesday that Zimbabwe still faces a grave crisis, with major challenges in averting hunger and stopping a cholera epidemic that has killed 3,800 people. Catherine Bragg, assistant secretary general for humanitarian affairs, said that many parts of Zimbabwe have yet to receive any help in fighting cholera, which has hit more than 83,000 people since August. "The humanitarian situation remains grave. Despite efforts to control cholera, there are many places which are yet to be visited," she told reporters at the end of a five-day mission. She also said that the country faces serious threats from hunger, after the UN's World Food Programme reported last month that the number of people without food was estimated at 6.9 million -- more than half the population.
IC Publications / AFP
Hunger in the news
25 February 2009

'Pray and fast' plea for Zimbabwe

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, has called on Anglicans to "pray, fast and give" to highlight Zimbabwe's slide toward starvation. Dr Williams and the Archbishop of York, John Sentamu, have chosen the growing crisis in Zimbabwe for their first joint appeal for funds. They said people should give now rather than wait for a political solution. [...] Despite Zimbabwe's desperate plight, the UN's World Food Programme recently reported that donor countries had actually reduced the amount they were giving. The UN said donors were apparently waiting to see what would result from the power-sharing deal between President Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai before committing themselves to further funding.
BBC News

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