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
5 February 2009

Somali refugees put strain on camps in Kenya

A growing tide of Somalis fleeing conflict at home has led to overcrowding in refugee camps in neighboring Kenya and the United Nations does not expect the influx to ease soon, a U.N. official said. The Dadaab refugee camp in arid northern Kenya received 62,000 new arrivals from Somalia in 2008 compared with only 18,000 in the previous year, U.N. refugee agency UNHCR said. [...] Aid workers say Somalia's humanitarian crisis -- in which a third of the 10 million population needs food aid -- is the worst in the world.
Washington Post / Reuters
Hunger in the news
5 February 2009

What drives the Rohingya to sea?

[...] Northern Rakhine state is one of the poorest and most isolated in Burma. But the burdens imposed on the Rohingya [people] by Burma's military rulers make their situation a whole lot worse than other people living in the area. "Economic hardship and chronic poverty prevents many thousands of people in north Rakhine state from gaining food security," says Chris Kaye, the country director for the UN's World Food Programme who visited there two months ago. "Many do not have land rights or access to farmland to grow food, and the restrictions and limitations on the movement of people, goods and commodities places additional stress on people's livelihood opportunities."
BBC News
Hunger in the news
4 February 2009

Growing bananas on Ben Nevis

In the first of a new series of interviews on development, Anne Perkins asks Simon Maxwell, director of the Overseas Development Institute, what he thinks of the Guardian's Katine project.
The Guardian
Hunger in the news
4 February 2009

Abu Dhabi hosts first Global Aviation Safety Conference for Humanitarian Air Operations

The first Global Aviation Safety Conference for Humanitarian Air Operations will take place in Abu Dhabi on February 18-19, presented by the World Food Programme (WFP) and sponsored by Maximus Air Cargo, the UAE's specialist in delivering relief materials to disaster areas around the world. The conference will focus on aviation safety and the unique difficulties faced in transporting aid personnel and materials to sites that are often barely accessible.
Middle East Logistics
Hunger in the news
4 February 2009

Co-Chairs urge Tigers to disarm

The Co-Chairs of the Tokyo aid conference -Norway, Japan, the US and EU - yesterday called on the LTTE to lay down arms and discuss with the government the modalities of ending hostilities to avoid further civilian casualties. Jointly expressing their great concern about the plight of thousands of internally displaced persons trapped by fighting in northern Sri Lanka, the Co-Chairs called on the LTTE and the Government of Sri Lanka not to fire out of or into the no-fire zone established by the Government or in the vicinity of the Puthukudiruppu hospital (or any other medical structure), where more than 500 patients are receiving care and many hundreds more have sought refuge. They also call on both sides to allow food and medical assistance. [...]Minister Abeywardena charged that the LTTE continued to launch shell attacks into the no-war zone. He said the military had agreed to open the Oddusudan check point for the smooth flow of relief items, and this would help the World Food Programme to send essential items with the assistance of the UN. The government has a buffer stock of 8,000 tonnes of essential supplies in Vavuniya to be sent to the Wanni.
Daily Mirror
Hunger in the news
4 February 2009

Afghanistan a UN priority: chief

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Wednesday declared Afghanistan a priority for the United Nations and pledged to do the utmost to support key presidential elections this year. Ban made a surprise visit to Kabul as the embattled country prepares for its second-ever presidential vote in August while facing an insurgency at its highest point since a US-led invasion ousted the Taliban regime in 2001. [...] The United Nations has said security reached its lowest point in Afghanistan last year since the Taliban was removed from government with a spike in attacks, including on aid workers. "The situation in Afghanistan is serious and it's getting worse," the UN's top relief official, John Holmes, said in Geneva on Tuesday. The reasons were "escalating conflict and also because of the serious drought which has been raging there for two years in some parts of the country," he said. Violence has prevented UN and other aid workers from accessing large swathes of the country, and several World Food Programme aid convoys have been attacked and looted in recent years.
Agence France Presse (AFP)
Hunger in the news
4 February 2009

People at risk of starvation in NE Uganda

More than 970,000 people are at risk of starvation following a severe drought in northeastern Uganda. Humanitarian agencies in the region say that people have resorted to eating wild fruits, leaves, and rodents for survival. The UN World Food Program and the Ugandan government have launched a 64 million U.S. dollar emergency operation to avoid the situation slipping into famine.
Xinhua
Hunger in the news
4 February 2009

Retailers in no rush to reopen doors in Zimbabwe

Despite Zimbabwean opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai joining the government of national unity last week and the government changing policy to allow businesses to charge in foreign currencies, local retailers are not leaping to be the first back into the country that was once known as Africa’s bread basket. [...] The country is [...] in the middle of a humanitarian crisis. The World Health Organisation has put the number of cholera deaths at more than 3000 while about 7-million Zimbabweans need food aid, up from 5,1-million six months ago, according to the World Food Programme.
Business Day
Hunger in the news
4 February 2009

Somalia's total meltdown

The search for a government -- any kind of government -- to bring order to Somalia is growing increasingly desperate as warring Islamist factions, tribal clans and bandit gangs exploit a power vacuum created by last week's Ethiopian troop withdrawal. Just when it seemed the plight of Somali civilians could not get any worse, it did. Aid workers and human rights groups are not mincing words: catastrophe is just around the corner. [...] The World Food Programme said earlier this month that it might have to suspend food distribution after two of its employees were murdered.
The Mail and Guardian
Hunger in the news
4 February 2009

Aid agencies warn millions face hunger in Kenya

Millions of Kenyans risk hunger this year, according to the government and the U.N. World Food Program, unless international donors grappling with their own financial crises step in to provide massive aid. The World Food Program sent out teams this week to assess the extent of the crisis after yet another rash of crop failures caused by prolonged drought; the agency says historical data suggests 3.2 million people will need aid. In many of the worst affected areas, this is the third consecutive failed harvest. WFP estimates that $135 million will be needed to tackle the crisis through the expansion of emergency projects. "This is a very alarming situation," WFP spokeswoman Gabrielle Menezes said as she led a group of journalists across a field filled with dry and broken cornstalks. "People already hit by high food prices are struggling to feed themselves."
Seattle Post Intellegencer / AP

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