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
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
Hunger in the news
30 January 2009

Drop in world wheat harvest forecast

The world's wheat harvest is likely to "fall sharply" in 2009-10 as farmers cut the acreage devoted to the cereal, the International Grains Council said yesterday in its first forecast for the incoming crop. The London intergovernmental body said the 2009-10 season wheat crop would fall to 650m tonnes - down about 5 per cent from a record 687m tonnes last season.
Financial Times
Hunger in the news
30 January 2009

Aid trucks stranded at Egypt's Gaza border

More than two dozen trucks loaded with food, aid and goods intended for the Gaza Strip were stranded on the Egyptian side of the border Thursday, leaving truckers with little to do but sip tea and exude frustration. The backlog raises questions about a U.N. appeal announced Thursday which calls for $613 million to help Palestinians recover from Israel's three-week offensive in Gaza and whether new aid will have much effect until there is a deal to open the devastated territory's borders. "The ordinary people here in Gaza are not getting enough help and are not getting it quickly enough," said John Ging, the top U.N. official in Gaza. He blamed the aid shortage on the lack of access to Gaza and demanded that the border crossings be opened.
Associated Press (AP)
Hunger in the news
30 January 2009

Sean Penn protests for world's poor

Oscar nominated actor Sean Penn has appeared in a United Nations video to call on leaders at the World Economic Forum to help the world's impoverished out of the financial crisis. The thirty second clip voiced by the 'Milk' star will be released as economic experts and leaders meet in Switzerland. The video has been released by the World Food Programme.
Sky News
Hunger in the news
30 January 2009

Severe floods harass southern Philippines

For hundreds of thousands of residents in southern Philippines, hope for an auspicious new year was dampened by an unleashing flood that destroyed houses and farms and washed away their loved ones at the start of the year of ox. Over the past weeks, as many as 35 people have been killed and over 300,000 others affected the worst flood in years in northwestern Mindanao region. [...] Baicon Macaraya of the United Nation's World Food Program (UN-WFP) based in the southern Philippines said the flood was the worst in months and the UN organization has given over 600 tons of rice for more than 12,000 families displaced by the latest flash floods. "I've seen the impact. Some of them are staying only at covered courts, which are vulnerable to other diseases. Some of them have no homes to return to," Macaraya said. "It's not of the tons of food assistance but the lives of the people you reach. At least you are assured they will not worry of what they will eat," she added. Stephen Anderson, UN-WFP country director, said in other part of Mindanao, like in Iligan City in Lanao del Norte there are still evacuees who will continue stay in the evacuation centers due to continuous heavy rains in the area.
Xinhua
Hunger in the news
30 January 2009

UN official urges free flow of border crossings into Gaza for relief materials

Stressing the uninterrupted opening of border crossings into the Gaza Strip, a UN official has said that meeting the immediate needs of Palestinians left traumatized and homeless by Israe’s three-week military offensive required the free flow of not just emergency food, but fuel, medicines and necessary building supplies. “From a logistic point of view... we are doing our best,” World Food Programme Regional Director for the Middle East Daly Belgasmi told a news briefing in New York on Thursday, stressing the need for a full opening of the crossing points, which Israel again briefly closed on Tuesday following a border bomb attack. “The crossing points are still an issue because it’s open today,it’s closed tomorrow, it’s open in the morning, it’s closed in the afternoon, and that has been a real challenge,” he said. “The food supply chain has collapsed.
Associated Press of Pakistan

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