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
4 February 2009

Sean Penn's new PSA to fight world hunger

The United Nations World Food Program unveiled this PSA during the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, last week. It has a pretty effective visual going for it, plus it has Sean Penn
Wall street Journal
Hunger in the news
4 February 2009

Zimbabwe aid conditional, says US

The US says it will only consider easing sanctions against Zimbabwe when it sees evidence of real power-sharing between the rival parties. A state department spokesman said new aid for Harare was dependant on inclusive and effective governance. The statement comes a day after a similar announcement by the UK. Meanwhile, parliament has delayed a debate on changes to the constitution to allow opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai to become prime minister. [...] Zimbabwe is enduring rampant inflation and an escalating food crisis.
BBC News
Food Security Analysis
3 February 2009

DA chief Yap renews call for a global food reserve

Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap has renewed his plea to various governments for the establishment of a global food reserve to stabilize supply and prices in the world market. Such food reserve, particularly for rice and other cereals, would also act as an emergency supply in case of production shortfalls. Speaking before world leaders at the United Nations High-Level Meeting on Food Security for All in Madrid last week, Yap said setting up a food reserve is urgent concern since there are indications that there would be another round of price spikes that would contribute to panic buying. He stressed the retreat of food prices at the moment is temporary. [...] When prices are too low, as it is today, he said the Reserve will buy rice stocks from producers to prevent the rice from being dumped into the market and depressing prices further, thus protecting the welfare of farmers. On the other hand, when prices are too high, the Reserve will protect consumers by releasing rice into the market, bought at a lower price, to stabilize supplies, he said. “These stocks can be pre-positioned around the globe to answer the call of the most vulnerable and operated by an existing organization like the World Food Programme, with a proven track record in food relief and management operations," Yap said. “This mechanism promotes certainty. And certainty dispels volatility."
GMA News TV
Hunger in the news
3 February 2009

UN expresses concern over shelling of hospital in Sri Lanka

The United Nations has expressed concern over the shelling of a hospital in northern Sri Lanka, the scene of heavy fighting between the army and the LTTE, emphasising the ever-increasing threat to the lives of some 250,000 civilians trapped in the region. Gordon Weiss of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said that the hospital, in the north-east of the island nation, was shelled numerous times on Sunday, resulting in the killing of 11 people altogether, including one nurse. [...] The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is trying to negotiate a new convoy out of the area and into Government-controlled territory, where the patients can be treated properly, Weiss said. Meanwhile, the World Food Programme is continuing negotiations with the Government to secure an adequate window for the next humanitarian convoy into the area, though no convoy has gotten in since last week
The Hindu / PTI
Hunger in the news
3 February 2009

Cholera infection rate climbs as UN cleared to assess crisis

The cholera infection rate is steadily rising this week, with almost 2000 cases added to the official figures released by the World Health Organisation (WHO) on Monday. [...] The new figures come as Robert Mugabe has finally consented to allow a top level United Nations assessment team to tour Zimbabwe to find ways to curb the cholera epidemic as well as the devastating hunger crisis. Critical food shortages across the country have seen the number of Zimbabweans in need of food aid rise to almost seven million people, and the situation has forced the UN’s World Food Programme (WFP) to half its monthly rations of maize to cater for as many people as possible. WFP officials have said the ration cut will allow the group to reach an estimated 5.1 million starving Zimbabweans, but have also acknowledged that the new ration ‘falls below what is considered a survival ration.’ Those fortunate enough to receive food packages ‘would now have to find additional means to stay alive,’ WFP regional spokesperson Richard Lee told the UK’s Guardian news service. But in a country where there are few food sources and many families have been forced to survive on scavenged fruit and seeds, ‘additional means’ will be hard to find.
SW Radio Africa
Hunger in the news
3 February 2009

Crop-eating pests laying more larvae in Liberia

Swarms of crop-eating pests are laying more larvae in the West African country, experts said Tuesday, warning that the caterpillars also have been identified as a species capable of more damage than previously believed.
Washington Post / AP
Hunger in the news
3 February 2009

Fasting for Lent

It’s time to start preparing for Lent — Ash Wednesday falls this year on Feb. 25. Pope Benedict XVI’s Lenten Message for 2009 was introduced today at a Vatican press conference by Cardinal Paul Josef Cordes, president of the Pope’s charity, Cor Unum. [...] Josette Sheeran, executive director of the U.N.’s World Food Program, also addressed today’s press conference. Stating that “hunger is on the march worldwide,” Sheeran urged Catholics to be Good Samaritans and help the billion malnourished people in the world who have no recourse to family support or to state welfare programs to provide them with food. “Sometimes I call WFP the ‘FedEx’ to the bottom billion because there are no pipelines to meet some of those in need,” Sheeran said. “So we have thousands of planes, helicopters, trains and ships, camels, donkeys and elephants at our disposal if we have to go up an isolated mountain or through an earthquake.” Speaking to the Register after the press conference, Sheeran said the fight against hunger is non-partisan and touches every faith.
NC Register
Hunger in the news
3 February 2009

Fasting: Self restraint to leave room for God

This morning in the Holy See Press Office, the presentation took place of the 2009 Lenten Message of the Holy Father Benedict XVI. The theme of this year’s Message is: “He fasted for forty days and forty nights, and afterwards he was hungry”. Participating in the press conference were Cardinal Paul Josef Cordes and Msgrs. Karel Kasteel and Giovanni Pietro Dal Toso, respectively president, secretary and under-secretary of the Pontifical Council “Cor Unum”, and Josette Sheeran, executive director of the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP). Josette Sheeran opened her comments by explaining that “one in six people on earth” suffers hunger. “But this is not a problem of food availability. It is a problem of distribution - and of greed, discrimination, wars and other tragedies”, she said. “Today, a child dies every six seconds from hunger. The question is: Is there anything that can be done to alleviate the humiliation, pain and injustice of hunger? Are there solutions that help people break the hunger trap for themselves, once and for all? The answer is overwhelmingly ‘yes’. We have the tools and technology to make this happen, and we have seen it happen in many places around the world”.
DFW Catholic
Hunger in the news
3 February 2009

Japan provides much needed food assistance to Tajikistan

On Monday February 2, The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the World Food Programme (WFP) morning signed an agreement for the provision of food commodities to the most vulnerable people in Tajikistan. According to press release issued by the WFP CO Tajikistan, the value of the Japanese contribution is US$ 4.7 million and will be used to purchase some 6,000 metric tons of wheat flour and 1,200 metric tons of pulses for distribution to food-insecure people in Tajikistan through the World Food Programme activities in the country. “This contribution comes at a critical time during winter when many Tajik people face a daily dilemma deciding between spending what little money they have on food or on heating,” said Zlatan Milisic, WFP’s Country Director in Tajikistan, during the signing ceremony. The World Food Programme aims to reach almost 1.2 million vulnerable people in Tajikistan through a variety of programs with 91,394 MT of food commodities at an overall cost of US$ 81.3 million. The project started in July 2007 and will run until the end of 2009.
Asia-Plus
Hunger in the news
3 February 2009

MIDEAST: Gaza Reemerging From the Ashes

The United Nations is urgently appealing for 613 million dollars to aid more than a million desperate civilians in the ruins of Gaza, where schools, hospitals, houses, factories and even farmland were obliterated during the three-week assault by Israeli air and ground forces. Over 1,300 Palestinians were killed and more than 5,300 injured in the war, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health. Some 21,000 homes were reported destroyed or badly damaged, and more than 50,000 people were displaced into temporary U.N. shelters. "Whole industrial areas [were] completely flattened, buildings blasted into piles of rubble," Christine van Nieuwenhuyse, the World Food Programme's (WFP) country director for the occupied Palestinian territories, reported after her recent trip to Gaza. "While there were some areas left totally untouched, it was precisely the strategic economic areas that Gaza depends on to relieve its dependency on aid that were wiped out," she wrote.
Inter Press Service (IPS)

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