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
20 February 2009

NATO anti-piracy flotilla to sail in March

NATO's new anti-piracy flotilla will leave next month bound for the Horn of Africa where it will join an EU task force already patrolling the region, Germany's defense minister said Friday. Defense Minister Franz Josef Jung said Germany will contribute a frigate and a tanker to the six-vessel naval squadron. They will join the EU task force, code-named Operation Atalanta, which is the first naval action undertaken by the bloc. Other nations — including the Netherlands, Spain, Portugal, Canada, Norway, Denmark and the U.S. — also have offered their warships to the anti-piracy force known as the Standing NATO Maritime Group I. [...] Somalia has not had a functioning government since 1991 and nearly half the population is dependent on aid. This is provided mainly by the U.N. World Food Program, whose chartered ships had repeatedly come under pirate attack before the original NATO flotilla arrived in November.
International Herald Tribune / AP
Hunger in the news
20 February 2009

Japan inaugurates excellence center in Cotabato City

Japan will show anew its commitment to peace in Mindanao with the inauguration of a Project for Center for Excellence in Humanitarian Service in Cotabato City on Saturday. [...] Japan's assistance for the internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Mindanao, who have been forced to evacuate since last August because of the conflict between the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), includes the Grant Agreement signed last month to provide emergency food aid amounting to ¥860 million ($9.5 million), or 7,500 metric tons of rice, through the United Nations World Food Program (WFP).
GMA News TV
Hunger in the news
20 February 2009

Three UN Agencies Launch Joint Cash Assistance Program

On February 18, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) launched a joint cash assistance programme for people displaced during the August 2008 crisis in Georgia. Through a WFP led direct cash transfer system, short-term financial assistance will be provided to those who, due to the August conflict left their homes in the Tskhinvali, Java and Akhalgori districts as well as to the Kurta, Tikvi, Eredvi and Azhara communities and those who are currently registered at the Civil Registry Agency of Georgia.
Georgia Today
Hunger in the news
19 February 2009

U.N. Official Details Importance of Foreign Aid

“If you can change a simple meal, you can change a society,” Bettina Luescher, spokesperson for the U.N. World Food Programme said yesterday evening in Goldwin Smith Hall’s Kaufman Auditorium during a talk entitled “Global Food Crisis: A Hungry World and What We Can Do About It.” The lecture was funded by the FreeRice Initiative, a newly-established student organization dedicated to reducing world hunger. For over 40 years, the WFP has been on the frontline of providing food to victims of wars and natural disasters. Annually, over 100 million people in 77 countries are cared for, according to Luescher. During the talk, Luescher, a former CNN investigative journalist and award-winning reporter, shared her experience as an aid worker in Afghanistan, Indonesia and Darfur. In Afghanistan, the WFP offered extra rations of cooking oil to girls who would go to school.
Cornell Daily Sun
Hunger in the news
19 February 2009

Inflation-wracked Zimbabwe pays workers in US dollars

ZIMBABWE'S new government took its first step towards rebuilding the shattered nation by honouring a pledge to civil servants by paying them in US dollars to counter the impact of hyperinflation. "We will pay every civil servant in foreign currency," Finance Minister Tendai Biti told a news conference in Harare. The armed forces had already been paid, he said. Zimbabwe is grappling with the effects of the world's highest rate of inflation. [...] Mr Tsvangirai explained that the foreign currency payment will enable people to go to work, to feed their families and to survive. Figures from the World Food Program last month indicated that more than half of Zimbabwe's 12 million people did not have enough to eat.
The Herald Sun
Hunger in the news
19 February 2009

Russian flour reaches Afghanistan under new aid program

A total of 25 rail cars loaded with high-quality Russian flour have already arrived in the Afghan city of Hairaton, an economic and trade advisor to the Russian Embassy in Afghanistan said on Thursday. The deliveries of food to Afghanistan, where about 300 people have recently died of hunger and cold during an unusually severe winter, were set up by the UN World Food Program. Russia is one of the program's leading donors.
Ria Novosti
19 February 2009

Gov't survey finds health, nutrition problems of Cambodian children

A recent government survey has found that the rising cost of food has halted improvements in child health and nutrition in Cambodia, English-Khmer language newspaper the Cambodia Daily said on Thursday. The percentage of children under 5 found to be "acutely malnourished" has grown in recent years, the paper quoted the Cambodian Anthropometrics Survey, which was issued this week by the government's National Institute of Statistics, as saying. According to the findings, 8.4 percent of children under 5 were acutely malnourished in 2005, but the number rose to 8.9 percent last year. The report also showed a jump since 2005 in the number of young children suffering from ailments such as diarrhea, fever and respiratory infections. "If these numbers turn out to be true, this is a very serious situation and all stakeholders involved (in food security) should take action soon," the World Food Program's recently appointed Country Representative Jean-Pierre De Margerie said.
Xinhua
Hunger in the news
19 February 2009

Argentina Faces Strike by Farmers

Argentine farmers, beset by falling commodity prices and drought, said they will halt sales of grains and some beef cattle for four days to protest President Cristina Kirchner's agrarian policy. The announcement came minutes after the government agreed to a meeting with farm leaders next Tuesday. Farmers are calling on Mrs. Kirchner to reduce a 35% export tax on soybeans, offer greater drought assistance and ease controls on marketing corn, wheat and beef.
Wall street Journal
Hunger in the news
19 February 2009

Interview: Jaime Vallaure of the UN World Food Programme in Honduras

Honduras is one of the poorest countries in Latin America, with one out of three children under five years old suffering from chronic malnutrition. Natural disasters like drought and flooding have all had a major impact on Honduras in recent years. The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) is emphasizing school feeding to combat hunger and poverty. Jaime Vallaure, WFP country director for Honduras, recently discussed the importance of school meals for children.
BlogCritics Magazine
Hunger in the news
19 February 2009

Israel-oPt: Food insecurity increasing after war

Thousands of food-insecure Palestinians in the Gaza Strip are facing an even worse situation after large numbers of livestock and agricultural land were badly damaged or destroyed during Israel’s military assault, which began on 27 December. [...] Chicken and meat are now very costly or unavailable, while fresh fruit and vegetables will be unavailable by May due to destroyed crops, according to the World Food Programme (WFP) in Gaza. An emergency operation was jointly approved by FAO and WFP in January to provide food to 365,000 worst-affected residents in Gaza, including social hardship cases, internally displaced people and farmers to 19 January 2010. “Part of the emergency operation is being revised in light of the war,” said senior WFP coordinator in Gaza Jeannoel Gentile. “WFP has conducted an emergency food security assessment, and the recommendations will be released this week that will confirm or increase the 365,000 figure.” WFP’s distribution has started in schools and the general distribution will start this week, said Gentile, although aid continued during the war.
IRIN News

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