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

“The priority is always to save lives.”

John M Powell, United Nations Assistant Secretary General and WFP Deputy Executive Director, visited Yemen from 26-30 January and signed an agreement with the government to provide food aid for 500,000 of the poorest Yemenis with 30,000 metric tones of assorted food commodities . Nationwide WFP is feeding 43,500 Somali refugees. Salma Ismail of the Yemen Times met with Powell and interviewed him.
The Yemen Times
Hunger in the news
5 February 2009

Fresh wave of CAR refugees await aid

Some 10,000 people from the Central African Republic (CAR) - mostly women and children - are stranded in a remote area of southern Chad, having fled renewed fighting in northern CAR, local authorities have told the UN. [...] The UN World Food Programme (WFP) is sending 82.5 metric tons of food – enough to cover 10,000 people for 15 days, according to Gon Myers of WFP in Chad.
IRIN News
Dossier: Food out of reach
5 February 2009

"Startling gap" in food aid to poor-Commonwealth

Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma said on Thursday there was a "startling gap" between pledges made by donors to help growing numbers of hungry people and funds received. Donors at a summit in Rome last month promised $22 billion (15 billion pounds) in agriculture and food aid after higher food prices left another 40 million people hungry in 2008. That raises the number of undernourished people in the world to 963 million, the United Nations says. The head of the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organisation, Jacques Diouf, has said only about $2 billion -- less than one-tenth of the funds pledged -- had been received to date, but more was due in coming years. [...] U.N Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon last week called on rich nations to do more to prevent the global financial slowdown from adding to a massive 1 billion people going hungry in the world. Food prices have come down for the time being but the number of hungry people was set to rise again, Ban said. The financial crisis will slash the poor's purchasing power and cause higher unemployment, according to the World Food Programme.
International Herald Tribune / Reuters
Hunger in the news
5 February 2009

Food Shortages in Lesotho Affecting HIV-Positive People

IRIN/PlusNews on Tuesday examined the effect of Lesotho's food crisis on HIV-positive people in the country, many of whom are unable to obtain nutritious food. According to IRIN/PlusNews, Lesotho's food production has suffered in recent years from erratic weather, soil erosion and the burden of HIV/AIDS on the subsistence farming system. HIV-positive people need to consume 10% to 30% more calories than HIV-negative people, and people who take antiretroviral drugs on an empty stomach can feel sicker. In addition, the effectiveness of the medicine can be reduced without proper nutrition, IRIN/PlusNews reports. Matsepiso Lemphane, a nurse clinician at Liphiring Health Center, estimated that 80% of people with HIV at the clinic do not have enough food. A 2008 survey conducted in Lesotho's urban areas by the World Food Program found that 30.2% of urban households in Mohale's Hoek were highly food insecure.
Kaiser Network
Hunger in the news
5 February 2009

Japanese envoy visits conflict-torn Mindanao, pledges assistance

Japanese Ambassador to the Philippines Makoto Katsura today visited Filipino evacuees displaced by a chronic state of conflicts in Muslim Mindanao and pledged assistance valued at around $9 million. [...] The Japanese Embassy in Manila announced that Japan will provide 860 million yen (about $9.7 million) in emergency food aid through the United Nations World Food Program (WFP) to the displaced Filipinos in Mindanao. The aid in the form of 7,500 metric tons of rice is part of Japan's peace-building efforts in Mindanao, the embassy said.
The Philippine Star
Hunger in the news
5 February 2009

Knock, knock

At least he tried. That is probably the best that could be said for Ibrahim Gambari’s latest mission to Myanmar, which ended on February 3rd. The four-day visit was the Nigerian’s seventh as the United Nations’ envoy to the country, a job whose history is strewn with past failures. [...] Western donors had hoped that international cyclone relief would crack open the door to broader co-operation on aid, and perhaps a dash of glasnost. There is little sign that it did. The World Food Programme recently reported that Myanmar will need 185,000 tonnes of food aid this year, after the cyclone and a rat infestation have ruined crops. But its ability to deliver grain to the needy is strangled by the junta’s controls, particularly in desperately poor western Myanmar.
The Economist
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

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