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
25 February 2009

N Korea raises fears of missile test

North Korea yesterday said it was preparing to fire a satellite into space, heightening regional fears that a provocative long-range missile test could be imminent. [...] Both the US and South Korea insist any rocket firing by Pyongyang would contravene United Nations Security Council resolution 1718, which was adopted to contain North Korean ballistics following the 2006 atomic test. [...] Impoverished North Korea is under stringent international sanctions and depends on food aid for survival. Imposing further sanctions would exacerbate malnourishment in a country where famine killed about 1m people in the 1990s.
Financial Times
Hunger in the news
25 February 2009

China: Wheat Belt Shrivels

Northern China is dry in the best of times. But a long rainless stretch has underscored the urgency of water problems in a region that grows three-fifths of China’s crops and houses more than two-fifths of its people — but gets only one-fifth as much rain as the rest of the country. The current drought, considered the worst in Northern China in at least half a century, is crippling not only the country’s best wheat farmland, but also the wells that provide clean water to industry and to millions of people.
New York Times
Hunger in the news
25 February 2009

Less stunting but malnutrition remains in rural India

The last decade has seen stunting among children in rural India fall and access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation improve, according to a new report released by WFP and the M S Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF). But calorie intake and chronic energy deficiency have remained stagnant, the report says. [...] “The report maps hunger and malnutrition hot spots in the country. It is an excellent tool for the government, policy makers and the civil society for identifying food and nutrition insecure areas that need specific interventions,” said Mihoko Tamamura, WFP Representative and Country Director for India. “It also suggests priority areas of action to help achieve the national and Millennium Development Goal of reducing hunger and malnutrition,” she added.
Teatro Naturale
Aid professionals
25 February 2009

Malawi: Cheaper Recipe for Treating Hungry Children

A peanutty paste has revolutionized the treatment of chronically malnourished children. It's a ready-to-use therapeutic food (RUTF) that here in Malawi is called Plumpy'nut Chiponde.
IRIN News
Hunger in the news
25 February 2009

The missing fruits of labour

A United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) report released last week says that a staggering 230 million—or 21%—of India’s population is undernourished. Poverty is one thing. Malnourishment is a different beast. Amartya Sen calls poverty the deprivation of basic capabilities—not simply lowness of income. Few deprivations are as detrimental as undernourishment, which has dismal instrumental effects on economic productivity and income attainment.
Live Mint
Hunger in the news
25 February 2009

Uganda: Climate Change And Conflicts

Karamoja, a semi-arid region in northeast Uganda, is in crisis: a potent mix of the impact of climate change - 14 droughts in 25 years - border conflicts, armed cattle-raids, and difficult development and sustainability issues are the main features, delegates at a recent conference on Climate Change and Security in Africa learned. The humanitarian impact has meant that the UN World Food Programme (WFP) has an ongoing food aid programme in Karamoja for the last 40 years.
All Africa / IRIN
25 February 2009

WTO urges G20 to keep up anti-protectionism pledge

Leaders of the G20 developed and emerging countries should not backtrack on their agreement last year to fight protectionism when they meet in London in April, the head of the World Trade Organisation said on Wednesday. Despite the G20's decision in November to refrain from raising new trade barriers, there have been several moves suggesting creeping protectionism is under way. [...] Negotiations for a new world trade agreement have foundered partly due to an impasse on agriculture. Developing nations want the industrial world to cut farm supports. The United States says developing nations must remove barriers to farm imports. On Tuesday, U.S. President Barack Obama called for an end to "direct payments to large agribusinesses that don't need them. Asked whether Obama's latest remark could be a good sign for concluding the WTO's Doha round, Lamy said, "Let's see."
International Herald Tribune / Reuters
Hunger in the news
24 February 2009

Canada limits main foreign aid recipients

The Canadian government has announced it will steer foreign aid toward a smaller number of places around the world -- 20 countries or regions where it hopes to have a bigger impact. The federal government said Monday that the vast majority of Canada's bilateral aid money will go to 18 countries, in addition to the Caribbean and the West Bank/Gaza regions. [...] Bilateral aid programs account for just over half of Canada's overall assistance money -- 53 per cent, or roughly $1.5 billion. Under the plan announced Monday, 20 places will receive 80 per cent of that $1.5 billion. The other half of Canadian aid goes to international organizations, like the United Nations World Food Programme, and to countries dealing with urgent crises like natural disasters. Those contributions will continue.
CTV
Hunger in the news
24 February 2009

Rats: Plague threat looms in Bangladesh

Bangladesh's remote Chittagong Hill Tracts region faces a serious risk of prolonged famine and bubonic plague unless a ballooning rat population is brought under control, experts say. The UN's World Food Programme (WFP) began distributing three million dollars of emergency food supplies to some 120,000 people in the southeastern tribal area bordering India and Myanmar last May, after the rat population exploded. The rats -- some weighing as much as 1.5 kilogrammes (3.3 pounds) -- feed on bamboo forests in the hilly region. Dhaka University zoology professor Nurjahan Sarker recently visited the hill tracts and sounded the alarm over the "devastating" impact of the year-long rat plague. "The threats of a famine-fuelled conflict are real as the rats are destroying everything in the hills," she said.
Agence France Presse (AFP)
Hunger in the news
24 February 2009

Desperate wait for food in Zimbabwe's cities

Moses Nkomo, a 72-year-old grandfather of 10, cannot imagine how he would have survived without food handouts from relief agencies in Zimbabwe, where more than half the population faces hunger. “I have been surviving on handouts since November last year,” said Nkomo, a resident in Makokoba, one of the oldest and poorest sections of the country’s second city of Bulawayo, while waiting to receive food hampers from the aid group Oxfam. [...] The UN’s World Food Programme estimated in June that about five million people would need aid. Last month they revised the estimate to 6.9 million. Nkomo is one of 4,000 residents in his neighbourhood registered to receive a food basket that includes ground soya, the staple cornmeal, salt and peanut butter. Only a lucky 280 receive the handouts. In past years, rural families bore the brunt of food shortages but now townsfolk are feeling the pinch, as many have no means of livelihood in a country with unemployment at 94 percent.
The Citizen / SAPA-AFP

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