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
23 February 2009

Sri Lanka: Land deliveries still suspended

Food convoys for thousands of displaced in Sri Lanka’s north remain suspended after more than a month, despite rising concerns over a growing food crisis. “The security situation since 16 January has not been conducive for food convoys to go in,” Adnan Khan, country representative for the World Food Programme [WFP] said in Colombo, citing concerns over small arms fire and possible landmines en route. [...] Earlier this month, the UN food agency warned that the entire population of the Vanni faced a food crisis. “Food assistance is urgently needed for those still trapped in the conflict zone,” Khan told IRIN. “The resumption of convoys will only be possible if there is a lull in the conflict, but right now that’s not happening.” According to the UN, tens of thousands of civilians remain in the Vanni after heavy fighting between government forces and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), who have been fighting for an independent Tamil homeland since 1983.
IRIN News
Hunger in the news
23 February 2009

Bailing out the world's poor

The poorest people on the planet may not be to blame for the current financial crisis, but they are certainly feeling its impact. The global economic slowdown that has followed hot on the heels of the high food and fuel price shocks is expected to cripple more than a quarter of the world's poorest economies and push more than 100 million additional people into abject poverty and food insecurity. More people will become poor, and those who were already poor are going to become poorer still. [...] The commitments that the world made to address high food prices may now be forgotten, while literally trillions of dollars are being allocated to bail out financial institutions across the world. It is small wonder, then, that the world's poorest people see this as a glaring double standard: They never profited from the benefits of globalization in the good times, and they are now expected to pay the heaviest price during the hard times.
Toronto Star
Hunger in the news
23 February 2009

Asia-Pacific: Hunger a growing threat to region

Long-term hunger looms large for millions of people in the world’s fastest-growing region, the Asia-Pacific, unless governments invest heavily in agricultural production and put more money in the hands of the poor, a leading economist has warned. Poverty-stricken rural communities are paying more for their food than people in urban centres, seeing their farm land shrinking due to urbanisation and, despite impressive economic growth, cannot find alternative employment, Hafiz Pasha, former UN diplomat and now dean of the School of Social Sciences in Lahore, Pakistan, told legislators at the Asia-Pacific Parliamentarians’ Forum on Inequality and Hunger in Sri Lanka on 16 and 17 February 2009.
IRIN News
Hunger in the news
23 February 2009

Many rural Indians 'malnourished'

A new UN report says that many Indians in rural areas suffer malnutrition, despite government programmes. The report says that 40% of children under the age of three are underweight and a third of all men and women suffer from chronic energy deficiency. [...] The report was created by the World Food Programme and India's MS Swaminathan Research Foundation. MS Swaminathan, founder of the research foundation, said: "If you want to achieve food security for an individual you must bring three things together - availability of food, access to food - that means the purchasing power needed to buy the food - and finally the ability to absorb the food into the body."
BBC News
Hunger in the news
23 February 2009

Two aid workers killed in Darfur ambush - peacekeepers

Gunmen shot dead two workers for a French aid group in an ambush in the Sudanese region of south Darfur, peacekeepers said on Monday. The two Sudanese staff from Aide Medicale Internationale were attacked on Saturday evening as they drove in a remote area where fighting has surged between government forces and rebels. Investigations suggested the gunmen, who rode camels and horses, were bandits, a spokesman for the joint U.N./African Union UNAMID peacekeeping force said. But the killings took place at a time of growing fears of targeted attacks on foreign aid groups in the war-torn region.
Reuters
Hunger in the news
23 February 2009

Zimbabwean President Mugabe meets visiting UN team

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe on Monday met Catherine Bragg, UN assistant secretary-general for humanitarian affairs, at the State House in Harare. Bragg, who headed a UN team which also includes representativesfrom the World Health Organization, World Food Program and the United Nations Children's Fund, was on a five-day trip in Zimbabwe to understand the situation of this southern African country. Senior United Nations officials arrived in Harare on Saturday. They were preparing for a series of meetings with Zimbabwe's political leaders and UN colleagues dealing with the cholera epidemic and food shortages.
Xinhua
Hunger in the news
22 February 2009

Gunmen kidnap Pakistani in northern Somalia

Gunmen kidnapped a Pakistani national working on a farming project in Somalia's semi-autonomous northern region of Puntland on Sunday, a government official said. [...] Two Somali nationals working for the U.N.'s World Food Programme were killed by gunmen last month in the south of the Horn of Africa nation.
Reuters
Hunger in the news
22 February 2009

U.N. Official Condemns Rebel Attack in Sri Lanka

A top United Nations official condemned a kamikaze rebel attack on Sri Lanka's capital and urged both sides in the nation's civil war to avoid a "final bloodbath." Hours later, suspected Tamil separatists killed eight people in a shooting and stabbing attack. [...] Mr. Holmes, who met top government officials and visited displacement camps south of the fighting, said not enough food and other aid was reaching the trapped civilians, and he raised concerns about the heavy military presence at the camps for the more than 30,000 civilians who have fled the war zone. He promised the U.N. would send $10 million in emergency aid for food, medicine, shelter and other necessities for the displaced civilians, and urged both sides to ensure an orderly end to the conflict.
Wall street Journal
Hunger in the news
22 February 2009

UN team visits cholera-hit Zimbabwe

A UN humanitarian team arrived in Zimbabwe on Saturday to confront deadly cholera and a food crisis, and meet with President Robert Mugabe, officials said. "The mission arrived today. It is led by Catherine Bragg, the UN assistant secretary general for humanitarian affairs and deputy emergency relief co-ordinator of OCHA," a spokesman of the team, John Nyaga, told AFP. The other four members of the team are from the World Health Organisation (WHO), World Food Program (WFP) and the UN Children's Fund UNICEF, he said.
NineMSN / AFP
Hunger in the news
22 February 2009

UN to continue food aid program in Mindanao

The United Nations will continue its food aid program in conflict-affected areas in Central Mindanao, the United Nations World Food Program (WFP) said in its report. The UN food program benefited a total of 1,611,980 affected individuals in 2007 and has helped boost the peace process in Mindanao. “Currently, WFP has extended its support in Mindanao through the program on Immediate Support to Conflict-Affected Population in partnership with the Philippine government,” announced Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Avelino Razon Jr. who received the copy of the recently released WFP report yesterday. [...] Razon thanked the WFP for prioritizing conflict-affected areas in Mindanao, adding their move would help alleviate the plight of poor and marginalized people in Central Mindanao.
The Philippine Star

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