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
16 February 2009

Interview: Abdou Dieng of the World Food Programme in Guinea

The African nation of Guinea has seen increasing poverty rates in recent years. The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) reports that "the country's Forest region has long been host to hundreds of thousands of refugees from Liberia and Sierra Leone," which puts a big strain on Guinea's resources. Guinea is working to provide basic education for all its citizens as a means of combating poverty. The World Food Programme is helping by providing school meals to children. In the following interview with Abdou Dieng, WFP country director in Guinea, we will look at how crucial school feeding is toward breaking the cycle of poverty.
BlogCritics Magazine
Hunger in the news
16 February 2009

Philippines: Government order on IDP camps raises concerns

A government order for tens of thousands of internally displaced people (IDPs) to move out of camps on southern Mindanao island could expose them to grave danger, as sporadic fighting between government troops and Muslim separatist rebels continues, according to aid workers. [...] Stephen Anderson, World Food Programme (WFP) country director in the Philippines, told IRIN that while the overall situation seemed to have improved, with local governments helping the displaced, people still feared being caught in the crossfire. "Most of the people here are not keen to go back because they do not feel the security situation has improved," Anderson said on 16 February. "In some cases people have lost their homes, and many have lost their livelihoods. This is a big dilemma in fact, because large numbers remain displaced."
IRIN News
Hunger in the news
16 February 2009

Policy of UN's food program in Honduras

The UN's World Food Program in Honduras appears to be working the way development aid should, and Canada has stepped into a lead role. What's going right? For one thing, in the decade since this Central American country was laid low by Hurricane Mitch -- a disaster that left scars that still linger -- the number of children fed through a school-feeding program has grown from 200,000 to 1.3 million. That's a big deal in a country where one child in four is chronically malnourished. [...] Food aid, [Jamie Vallaure, the WFP representative in Honduras ] points out, can be remarkably cost-efficient. WFP spent $5 billion last year, up from $3.5 billion in 2007 as a result of the steep rise in food prices, to feed 100 million of the 900 million who need help. But nearly two-thirds of this money goes to feed just one-third of recipients, those who are hit by war or famine or natural disasters and are at imminent risk of starvation.

Vancouver Sun
Hunger in the news
15 February 2009

Over 80% of first wheat batch distributed

Almost 80 percent of the first batch of wheat donated by the United Arab Emirates has been distributed to those in need, according to Deputy General Manager of the Yemeni Economic Corporation for Trade Affairs Abdullah Al-Kuhali. [...] According to a recent assessment by the World Food Program, families in remote villages in Yemen are regularly skipping meals and spending over two-thirds of their income on food due to high international prices, forcing some families to pull children out of school because they cannot afford to keep them there.
Yemen Times
Hunger in the news
15 February 2009

Red Cross Is in Talks to Resume Sri Lanka War Zone Food Convoys

The International Committee of the Red Cross is in talks with the Sri Lankan government and Tamil rebels on resuming food convoys to civilians caught in war zones after halting deliveries last month amid increased fighting. [...] The last ICRC-escorted convoy, carrying food provided by the World Food Programme, went into the areas on Jan. 29.
Bloomberg
Hunger in the news
15 February 2009

Rohingya are Muslim outcasts, not welcome anywhere

For generations, the ethnic Muslim Rohingya have endured persecution by the ruling junta of Myanmar, a predominantly Buddhist country. The plight of the Rohingya, descendants of Arab traders from the 7th century, gained international attention over the past month after five boatloads of haggard migrants were found in the waters around Indonesia and the Andaman Islands. [...] Twice since the 1970s, waves of attacks by the military and Buddhist villagers forced hundred of thousands of Rohingya to flee over the border to Bangladesh, a Muslim country whose people speak a similar language. Many have since been repatriated, but 200,000 still work there as illegal migrants and another 28,000 live in squalid refugee camps. [...] Most refugee advocates expect Rohingya migrants will keep coming. "My 14 children rely on me. They have no safety, no food, nothing," said Mohamad Salim, a 35-year-old, bearded fisherman who also was detained and hospitalized in Thailand and begged to be allowed to continue onto Malaysia. "What will they eat? How will they live if I don't find work?" he said, his voice trembling.
Associated Press (AP)
Hunger in the news
15 February 2009

Surplus wheat may lead to collapse of prices

Availability of surplus wheat in the country could lead to collapse of prices in local markets this year. The government has approved a plan to procure 6.5 million tons of wheat at Rs950 per 40kg, or Rs23,750 (nearly $300) per ton, which is about $100 higher than the rates prevailing in the international market. [...] Some 590,000 tons of imported wheat began arriving at the Gwadar port on Friday. This process would continue until March 5. The Trading Corporation of Pakistan would complete import of another 272,000 tons of wheat by March 31. The World Food Programme would also provide 30,000 tons of wheat it had borrowed from Pakistan last year.
Dawn
Hunger in the news
14 February 2009

Military news in brief

[...] The frigate HMS Northumberland has just completed her first main convoy escort of merchant shipping in the pirate-infested waters off the coast of Somalia. Leaving the Kenyan port of Mombasa in late January, the frigate was protecting four merchant vessels carrying cargoes of food vital to the famine relief effort in Somalia as part of the EU-led counter-piracy operation codenamed Atalanta. [...] Throughout this time, and especially as they came close inshore, Northumberland with her detachment of Royal Marines was at constant high alert — but the handover of food aid to Somali and World Food Programme security forces was accomplished without incident.
The Times (UK)
Hunger in the news
14 February 2009

Zimbabwe PM says Mugabe no longer main problem

Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai said the world should no longer see President Robert Mugabe as the main problem in the country as a new unity government tries to rescue the ruined economy. Speaking to Britain’s Guardian newspaper before a unity cabinet was sworn in on Friday, Mr Mugabe’s old enemy Mr Tsvangirai said it was time to move on to urgent issues, such as widespread poverty, high unemployment and crippling hyper-inflation. [...] Zimbabweans face unemployment above 90 per cent and prices that double every day. Half the 12 million population need food aid and a cholera epidemic has killed more than 3,500 people. Both Mr Mugabe and Mr Tsvangirai have named party stalwarts to the cabinet rather than technocrats seen as having the expertise Zimbabwe needs to escape its crisis. Political analysts have suggested that could lead to further mismanagement.
Financial Times / Reuters
Hunger in the news
13 February 2009

How did it come to this?

[...] The United Nations says that this month it will feed seven million Zimbabweans, more than two-thirds of the population still left in a country where drastic shortages have driven millions of the most able across the border to work illegally in South Africa. But new foreign food aid has all but dried up as the western financial crisis bites and donors hesitate to pour in more money to alleviate a crisis of President Robert Mugabe's making. So rations for most people have been cut to about 600 calories a day, less than the minimum required to keep an adult alive. There is little relief in sight with the worst harvest in decades expected this year, mostly as a result of Mugabe's land seizures and economic policies. The numbers dying are rising steadily. A silent, almost unseen, cull is underway.
The Guardian

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