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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13 February 2009

Burkinabe queue for food vouchers

Hundreds of women queued up to receive food vouchers in Burkina Faso on Friday under a scheme the U.N. World Food Programme says is a first in Africa and it will boost business for local markets. The scheme launched in the capital Ouagadougou, where there is no shortage of food in the shops but price rises of 25 percent or more in the past year have put some staples out of the reach of the poorest people. [...] "We needed to find a way to help those who needed to eat and at the same time boost business for small shopkeepers," said Annalisa Conte, WFP resident director in the landlocked country, which remains deeply poor despite a vibrant agricultural sector. Shopkeeper Alfred Vebamba said trade was brisk.
Reuters
Hunger in the news
12 February 2009

Scientists seek to unravel date code

Chinese and Saudi scientists are working together to unravel the genetic code of the date palm, which Arabs call the "king of the oasis". By mapping out its genetic structure, the scientists hope to determine its genome organizations and all its genetic characteristics, Yu Jun, professor and associate director of the Beijing Institute for Genomics (BIG), under the Chinese Academy of Sciences, said Wednesday. [...] After the modern Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was founded in 1932, the date palm was incorporated in its national emblem, as representative of "vitality and growth". Saudi's groves feature more than 20 million trees and more than 320 varieties of the fruit, and yield 15 percent of the world's date palms. The country also donates a large amount of dates to hunger-stricken countries through the United Nation's World Food Program.
Xinhua
Hunger in the news
12 February 2009

EU Allocates 27 Million Euros to Strengthen International Humanitarian Response

The European Commission has approved new funding of 27 million euros (35 million U.S. dollars) to strengthen global humanitarian preparedness and the response capacity of international organizations, the commission said on Thursday. The funding will be channeled to key international relief agencies, including the World Health Organization, the Red Cross, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, the U.N. Children's Fund and the World Food Program.
CRI / Xinhua
Hunger in the news
12 February 2009

Humanitarian Air Operations Severely Challenged by Growing Safety Concerns, Says Senior WFP Executive

The World Food Program has announced plans to host the 1st Global Aviation Safety Conference in the Middle East. Aviation safety is the number one priority for the global aviation community. In particular, humanitarian air operations are facing unique challenges to transport aid workers for emergency relief actions to the most difficult areas and to ensure the safety and security of their air travel.
Eye of Dubai
Hunger in the news
12 February 2009

Sustainable nutritional solution to world hidden hunger

It is very interesting to realise that in spite of the large number of civil liberty and the non-governmental organisations being paraded in recent times none seem to have shown any particular appreciable interest in nutrition. A high percentage of the people in the world, in fact one- third of the people world over don’t get enough iodine from food and water. [...] CIDA, UNICEF, The Izumi Foundation, Helen Keller International, World Bank, World Food Programme and others have been supportive [in the promotion of nutrition], many more groups and individuals should be involved.
Daily Triumph
Hunger in the news
12 February 2009

Army creates new 'safe zone' in Sri Lankan war

Sri Lanka's army has disbanded the mostly ineffective "safe zone" it had established in the war-wracked north and set up a new refuge for the tens of thousands of civilians still trapped. [...] Aid groups estimate that about 200,000 civilians are trapped in the war zone. The government says the figure is about half that number.
Washington Post / AP
Hunger in the news
12 February 2009

Dubai Airshow Organisers Donate Exhibition Space To WFP

Organisers of the Dubai Airshow 2009 are enlarging the free exhibition space for the United Nation's World Food Programme (WFP). F&E Aerospace is set to increase WFP's stand space to 35sq metres from 12sq metres in 2007 to ensure a more eye-catching display at the Nov 15-19 event to be held at the Dubai Airport Expo Centre, the company said in a statement. [...] "With the support and assistance we received from the Dubai Airshow in 2007, we have been able to take our message to significantly more flight charter companies over the last two years," said Cesar Arroyo, head of WFP aviation safety unit.
Bernama
Hunger in the news
12 February 2009

Inflation Amidst Recession: Nepal’s Paradox

[...] Paradoxically, at a time when most of the countries in the world are bracing themselves to face the challenges of the crisis, Nepal is experiencing an all time high inflationary situation. This is extremely worrying. If the figures published by Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB) and the survey carried out by the World Food Programme in collaboration with other institutions are to be believed, prices are not only high but rising rapidly at the rate of 14.4 per cent. According to a survey of the market, coarse rice is being sold at Rs. 40 per kg, pulses at Rs. 85 and edible oil at Rs. 150 in Kathmandu and food items are costlier in the remote districts of the country.
The Rising Nepal
Hunger in the news
12 February 2009

Kenyan farmers abandon fields as hunger bites

Sheltering under a tree from the scorching midday heat, eyes glued to the clear blue sky, Kiziba Wamwagudu hopes for rain. None has fallen in months. Crops have withered away in the dry, dusty soil, and food is scarce and costly. Like millions of others in southeast Kenya, Wamwagudu, 68, and his extended family of 18 are slowly being driven into the jaws of hunger. [...] To avoid future food shortages, the U.N. World Food Programme is encouraging the use of simple irrigation and using crops that can survive with less rain. "Millet and sorghum are drought-resistant crops, and this is one of the ways people can change their farming culture to fight drought," explains Gabrielle Menezes, a spokesperson for the food aid agency. While the government puts the number of those without enough food at 10 million, WFP estimates 3.2 million are in urgent need of aid. It is feeding 1.2 million people and hopes to extend assistance to a further 2 million, according to Menezes. The U.N. agency will soon start assessing the hunger situation jointly with the government.
Reuters
Hunger in the news
12 February 2009

NKorea tightens its economic grip, restricts market trading

North Korea has clamped down on fast-growing free markets for fear they could undermine the communist state's power over its people, analysts and observers say. The regime in late November banned general markets which sell consumer goods from early next year. It severely restricted the operations of food stalls, according to the Daily NK web newspaper and other analysts. [...] Staples such as rice and corn will be sold only at state distribution centres. [...] Kim Yong-Hyun, a North Korea studies professor at Dongguk University, said the state is trying to reassert control over distribution because sharp price rises have put basic commodities beyond the reach of ordinary people. [...] North Korea may have to ease the clampdown because it cannot solve food shortages and state stores do not have enough products to sell, he said. Chronic food shortages worsened this year, the Food and Agriculture Organisation and the World Food Programme said in a joint report last week. About 40 percent of the population -- an estimated 8.7 million people -- will urgently need food aid in coming months, they said.
Bangkok Post

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