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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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
Hunger in the news
24 February 2009

Aid groups plan renewed fight on hunger

Lost jobs, faltering banks and recession have pushed the issue of world hunger out of U.S. headlines, but U.S. aid groups are set to launch a plan to refocus attention on the issue, former U.S. Senator George McGovern said on Monday. The plan, to be announced on Tuesday by aid organizations including Feed the Children, Oxfam America, the U.S. Fund for UNICEF and Catholic Relief Services, may be the key to persuade President Barack Obama's administration to move ahead on hunger issues once the domestic economy is stabilized, said McGovern, an veteran of the effort to end world hunger. The pressing need to feed the nearly 1 billion people around the world who are chronically hungry has faded from public attention, McGovern said. "It's back on the back-burner right now, but there's still a flame there. It's a focus now on our own domestic economic problems that transcends the focus on anything else in government," he said.
Reuters
Hunger in the news
24 February 2009

Food security in India leaves much to be desired

India's malnutrition figures are not coming down despite a number of government programmes, says a new report released by World Food Programme. The research points out the need for a revamped public distribution system and greater public investment to address the wants of rural population.
One World South Asia
Hunger in the news
24 February 2009

Hunger groups push for boost in U.S. aid budgets

Cutting world hunger needs to be a top priority for the Obama administration and Congress, despite the sagging economy and pressing domestic initiatives, aid groups said on Tuesday. The United States should boost spending on food and agricultural aid by 60 percent in 2010 to $6.36 billion, and commit to further increases to $13.31 billion by 2014, a broad coalition of aid and development organizations said. [...] Groups have forged consensus that traditional emergency shipments of U.S.-grown farm commodities should be balanced with longer-term cash and development programs, said Karen Sendelback, president of Friends of the World Food Program. Farm groups and shippers may fight the move, said David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World, but cash-based aid can often be faster, cheaper, and more appropriate. "If you're trying to feed babies, corn isn't what you need," Beckmann said.
Reuters
Hunger in the news
24 February 2009

Karamoja needs sh150b — UN

AID agencies are in need of sh150b (about $77m) this year to address the humanitarian needs in the Karamoja region, according to a UN report. The Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (COHA) said sh100b (about $52.6m) would go to food assistance. [...] According to the report, the World Food Programme (WFP) and other aid partners estimate that many people in Karamoja will continue to require food assistance, given the small harvest in 2008.
New Vision
Hunger in the news
24 February 2009

UN pledges to assist Zimbabwe beyond cholera epidemic

The United Nations has pledged to assist Zimbabwe beyond the cholera epidemic with any other help Harare may require, including reviving the agricultural sector to ensure national food security, The Herald reported on Tuesday. President Mugabe appreciated the humanitarian assistance provided by UN agencies, citing the World Health Organization, World Food Programme(WFP) and the United Nations Children's Fund. "We will never, never fail to acknowledge that charitable work that is going on through the WHO, WFP and Unicef," he said.
People's Daily / Xinhua
Hunger in the news
24 February 2009

WFP starts feeding campaign

The World Food Programme (WFP) and the Ministry of Education and Sports have launched a packed lunch campaign for Universal Primary Education children in Amuru district. The campaign was launched by the education minister, Geraldine Namirembe Bitamazire, at Otwee parish in Amuru sub-county on Monday. She called upon parents to provide packed lunch to children to improve performance in class.
New Vision

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