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
2 February 2009

UN chief: Zimbabwe compromise is 'imperfect'

The U.N. chief said Monday that Zimbabwe's newly forged national unity government is an "imperfect" solution, and that it can only resolve the country's political crisis if President Robert Mugabe makes further progress. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon _ who met Mugabe on Sunday on the sidelines of the African Union summit in Addis Ababa _ said he urged him to move the country forward politically by taking important steps such as releasing political prisoners. [...] Zimbabwe has been in a political crisis since disputed presidential elections last year. Today, it has the world's highest official inflation rate, cholera has killed more than 3,000 people since August, and millions need food aid.
Washington Post / AP
Hunger in the news
2 February 2009

UNHCR Seeks to Open Additional Refugee Camp in Kenya

The UN refugee agency (UNHCR) said Tuesday it was holding consultations with the Kenyan government to open an additional refugee camp in northeast Kenya. Speaking during a meeting in Nairobi with Kenya's Immigration Minister Otieno Kajwang, visiting UNHCR Deputy Commissioner Craig Johnstone said the additional camp in Fafi district will cater for an influx of the refugees from war-ravaged Somalia. Daadab, the largest camp for those fleeing conflict in Somalia, has already hosted 240,000 refugees against a capacity of 90,000. Johnstone said the UN agency is working with the World Food Program (WFP) to ensure the refugees do not go hungry as a result of the current famine being experienced in many parts of the country.
CRI / Xinhua
Hunger in the news
2 February 2009

Water - another global 'crisis'?

If you look at the numbers, it is hard to see how many East African communities made it through the long drought of 2005 and 2006. Among people who study human development, it is a widely-held view that each person needs about 20 litres of water each day for the basics - to drink, cook and wash sufficiently to avoid disease transmission. Yet at the height of the East African drought, people were getting by on less than five litres a day - in some cases, less than one litre a day, enough for just three glasses of drinking water and nothing left over. [...] A changing climate is only one of the factors likely to affect the amount of water at each person's disposal in future. A more populated world - and there could be another 2.5 billion people on the planet by 2050 - is likely to be a thirstier world. Those extra people will need feeding; and as agriculture accounts for about 70% of water use around the world, extra consumption for growing food is likely to reduce the amount available for those basic needs of drinking, cooking and washing.
BBC News
Hunger in the news
2 February 2009

Zambian Farmers Try their Hand at Fish Farming

The rising cost of food in parts of Sub-Saharan Africa has left close to 900 million people suffer from severe hunger and malnutrition. This has led UN agencies such as the World Food Program and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization to call on developing countries to invest in fish farming. From Kazungula District on the Zambia-Botswana Border, VOA English to Africa Service Reporter Sanday Chongo Kabange interviewed a retired police officer who is tackling the rising cost of food through aquaculture.
Voice of America News
Hunger in the news
1 February 2009

Barter beware

Before all else, a government must safeguard the basic needs of its citizens. Yet, from north Africa to China, and from Russia to south Asia, governments have started entering into a secretive web of barter deals as a substitute for global commodities markets, because the financing for the international food trade is drying up or becoming too expensive. This is a dangerous trend that rich and poor countries must work to reverse. It is understandable that food-importing countries use any available means to secure supplies. Being cut off from trade puts too much pressure on domestic food markets. In sub-Saharan Africa local food prices have increased even as global commodities prices have fallen. The World Food Programme has too few resources. But beyond the very short run, solutions based on barter will only make things worse.
Financial Times
Hunger in the news
1 February 2009

Gaza desperately short of food

Gaza's 1.5 million people are facing a food crisis as a result of the destruction of great areas of farmland during the Israeli invasion. According to the World Food Programme, the UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation and Palestinian officials, between 35% and 60% of the agriculture industry has been wrecked by the three-week Israeli attack, which followed two years of economic siege. Christine van Nieuwenhuyse, the World Food Programme's country director, said: "We are hearing that 60% of the land in the north - where the farming was most intensive - may not be exploitable again. It looks to me like a disaster. It is not just farmland, but poultry as well.
The Guardian
Hunger in the news
31 January 2009

Abdullah gets WFP award

The World Food Program (WFP) honored Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah as the Champion in the Battle Against Hunger for 2008 at a function held in the Swiss city of Davos on Thursday evening. Minister of Commerce and Industry Abdullah Zainal Alireza received the award on behalf of the king from Josette Sheeran, executive director of WFP, at a dinner in Davos that was attended by representatives of various governments, organizations and corporations. Sheeran thanked King Abdullah for supporting WFP and donating $500 million. WFP is a UN frontline agency in the fight against global hunger and is regarded as the world’s largest humanitarian organization. “King Abdullah’s donation stands out as a beacon of hope for hungry and poor people the world over,” Sheeran was quoted by the Saudi Press Agency as saying.
Arab News
Hunger in the news
31 January 2009

Date set for Tsvangirai to become Zimbabwe's PM

After months of wrangling, Zimbabwe's opposition has agreed to join Robert Mugabe in a power-sharing government in the crisis-hit country. Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), will be sworn in as prime minister on 11 February, joining his bitter adversary in an unlikely political experiment. [...] The unity government faces an immediate battery of crises as the UN confirmed that cholera infections had hit 60,000 yesterday, just as the World Food Programme (WFP) said that food shortages would see it halve rations to millions of people in need of nutritional handouts.
The Independent
Hunger in the news
31 January 2009

MILF cites Japan’s role in pushing for Mindanao peace

The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) thanked the Japanese government Saturday for its aid to residents displaced by the ongoing conflict in Mindanao. MILF peace panel chairman and spokesman Mohagher Iqbal said the MILF now considers Japan as a "good friend of the peace process." [...] Last Wednesday, Japan formalized an emergency food aid involving $9.5 million or 7,500 metric tons of rice to IDPs in conflict-hit areas through the United Nations' World Food Program (WFP). The signing ceremony took place at the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) in Makati City last Wednesday.
GMA News TV
Hunger in the news
31 January 2009

Not a friend in the world

BARE backs striped with the scabbed welts of savage beatings; a youngster sobbing in a hospital bed with cotton wool padded to burns on his thigh; skeletally thin men on a wooden boat, half-filled with seawater, some so weak they can hardly clamber aboard a rescueship. These are the Burmese Rohingya, pictured in photographs that have shocked the world. Human-rights groups now say hundreds of these stateless and desperate people are feared drowned, after the Burmese military beat many of them, and the Thai military detained hundreds of others, later pushing their rickety boats back out into international waters allegedly with no engines and inadequate food and water. [...] Rohingya in Burma are used as forced labour and denied ordinary human rights. Meanwhile, the World Food Program this week warned that six million Burmese now need food aid, and pointed to the districts along Burma's western border, including Arakan, where access is restricted and the distribution of aid consequently limited.
The Australian

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