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
10 February 2009

Zimbabwe opposition leader to be prime minister

Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai takes the prime minister's oath Wednesday as part of a power-sharing agreement with longtime President Robert Mugabe that Zimbabweans hope will bring help as they suffer through economic and humanitarian crises. [...] The coalition agreement calls for the government to make its priority reviving an economy the opposition accuses Mugabe of destroying through corruption and mismanagement. The world's highest inflation rate has left millions of Zimbabweans dependent on international food aid to survive.
Washington Post / AP
Hunger in the news
9 February 2009

Food For Peace: Eisenhower's Unsung Initiative Can Be Obama's Most Powerful Tool for Peace

As President Obama tackles enormous foreign policy challenges, he would be well-advised to extract good ideas from past administrations and carry forward this "better part of history." At least one example comes from the Eisenhower administration, a time when the Cold War and nuclear weapons' fears dominated the world scene. During this turbulent period, President Eisenhower called for a peace conference. Representatives from different countries gathered to discuss topics like school lunches. Yes. That's right. School lunches. This was not the typical peace conference. It was not about disarmament, but rather food to fight hunger abroad. [...] Today, Nancy Roman of the World Food Programme writes, "To allow, now, the financial crisis to become the excuse for tossing up our hands and watching hunger multiply is foolish at best, tragic at worst."
History News Network
Hunger in the news
9 February 2009

Letter to the Editor: Worldwide Hunger

John Powell: “Sometimes if our food is sold in the markets it is not sold because of corruption, but maybe because locals who sell it do so in order to buy something else, like selling flour to buy rice with the money received. However, we would be very concern if cases like this happened.”
Yemen Post
Hunger in the news
9 February 2009

Myanmar needs $700 mln in cyclone aid: UN

Military-ruled Myanmar needs around $700 million in aid over the next three years to recover from last year's devastating cyclone, an aid coordinating group said on Monday. The appeal, focused on eight key areas including nutrition, health and livelihoods, comes at a time when many countries are being squeezed by the global economic crisis. [...] Last year's flash appeal for more than $470 million in aid after Cyclone Nargis struck the Irrawaddy delta on May 2 has raised $310 million so far. But officials from the United Nations and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) were confident donors would help with the three-year recovery plan. [...] Lack of new credit and access to markets have saddled many delta farmers with heavy debts, said Chris Kaye, country director for the U.N.'s World Food Programme. A survey of more than 2,000 households in October 2008 found that one in three were still in temporary shelters. Access to clean water remains a challenge.
The Hindustan Times / Reuters
Hunger in the news
9 February 2009

Davos, the Poor, and the Crash of '08

There was fear in the air at this year's World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Neither the snowy, gorgeous Alpine setting nor the festivities could offset the acrid tastes of desperation, confusion, and panic that seemefd to result from every single discussion and speech. [...] According to the World Food Program, the numbers of people in the world that are facing chronic starvation rose 10 percent in 2008, largely due to sharp rises in food commodity prices. Thailand's prime minister, Abhisit Vejjajiva, charged that "the world has never been more advanced in terms of creating wealth, and yet more and more are becoming hungry. The problem we face is a reflection of market and government failures," amid agricultural market distortions. "The root causes are all about distribution and purchasing power. In some countries, despite the food surplus, the very poorest are the farmers."
Council on Foreign Relations
Hunger in the news
9 February 2009

Kufuor Gets More Appointments

Former president John Agyekum Kufuor, currently in Milan, Italy, has accepted two more international appointments with the United Nations World Food Programme and the Milan Expo 2015. With the UN, he has been offered to serve as Global Ambassador for Hunger for the World Food Programme (WFP). This is according to the WFP executive director, Josette Sheeran, who on behalf of the UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki- Moon, made this known to the former President in Milan.
Modern Ghana
Hunger in the news
9 February 2009

Zimbabwe 'aid dependence growing'

Zimbabwe has suspended import duties on a list of scarce basic food items, including rice and cooking oil, for the first six months of 2009, state-run media reported on Monday. [...] The new measure, valid until June 30, would be reviewed depending on the expansion of the country’s industrial capacity to meet local need, the report added. Figures in January from the World Food Programme indicated that more than half of Zimbabwe’s 12 million people did not have enough to eat. An estimated three million Zimbabweans have fled the country’s economic and political instability, and are now supporting their families with both cash and food.
The Citizen
Hunger in the news
8 February 2009

'Thousands' flee Tamil Tiger area

More than 10,000 Sri Lankan civilians have fled in the past few days from rebel-held territory in the north, the government says. Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse called on the Tamil Tigers to let thousands more civilians leave and then unconditionally surrender. [...] Aid agencies - most recently the UN's World Food Programme (WFP) - continue to remain concerned about the plight of thousands of civilians who it is feared are trapped between the two sides.
BBC News
Hunger in the news
8 February 2009

China: $13-billion drought relief for wheat growers

With the global economic crisis already producing unrest in rural areas, Chinese authorities have taken emergency action in wheat-growing regions that are suffering from their worst drought in 50 years. The three northern provinces that account for more than half the country's wheat production have seen winter rainfall levels as much as 80% lower than normal, the National Meteorological Center reported. In a sign of how seriously the government is taking the drought [...] state-run media news reported Saturday that the Finance Ministry had allocated nearly $13 billion for drought relief, most of which will fund direct grants to farmers.
Los Angeles Times
Hunger in the news
8 February 2009

In Brief: Financial speculators and the food crisis

A food security expert has said that the involvement of financial markets in basic food commodities was the biggest factor in the worldwide food price hikes over the past couple of years. Peter Timmer, a visiting professor at Stanford University, said in a video interview posted on the UN World Food Programme website on 6 February that financial speculation in important food staples created a ‘bubble’ that disconnected market prices from underlying supply and demand fundamentals and produced severe volatility.
IRIN News

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