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
29 January 2009

Zimbabwe: UN to halve rations

The United Nations is to halve the food ration to millions of Zimbabweans, bringing it below what will keep an adult alive, as the numbers of people dependent on aid rises sharply and donations from foreign governments fall well short of demand. The World Food Programme is to cut the core maize ration in February from 10kg to 5kg a month – or just 600 calories a day – for 7 million Zimbabweans, about 70% of the people left in the country. The recommended ration is 12kg a month. As a result of the cuts, many Zimbabweans will be fortunate to eat once a day. [...] The WFP says it has cut the ration to meet increased demand and cope with a shortfall in donations. It says it requires another $65m to keep feeding Zimbabweans until the end of March. [...] Richard Lee, a WFP spokesman in southern Africa, said that while the calorie count would be boosted by a ration of beans and vegetable oil, recipients of food aid would now have to find additional means to stay alive.
The Guardian
Hunger in the news
29 January 2009

Interview: David Parra, World Food Programme Officer, Colombia

Colombia has suffered through a decades-long conflict between the government and anti-government insurgent groups such as the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). The anti-government forces are heavily involved in drug trafficking. Children are the hardest hit by the conflict and poverty in the country. The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) runs school feeding programs to help the children of Colombia. David Parra, a WFP officer in Colombia, discusses these life-changing programs for children.
BlogCritics Magazine
Hunger in the news
29 January 2009

WHO: Over 3,000 die as cholera crisis in Zimbabwe worsens

The death toll from Zimbabwe's worst ever cholera epidemic has climbed to over 3,000, with more than 57,000 infected by the water-borne disease, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported Wednesday. [...] Meanwhile, the UN World Food Programme (WFP) announced that around 500,000 Zimbabweans are set to benefit from its so-called "Safety Net" activities that support school-based feeding, people affected by HIV/AIDS and mobile and vulnerable populations.
Xinhua
Hunger in the news
29 January 2009

Zimbabwe Teachers Can’t Afford to Report for Work

Thousands of Zimbabwean teachers are failing to return for the re-opening of the southern African nation’s schools this month because they can’t afford the commute to work, union leaders said. [...] At least 6.9 million Zimbabweans, or more than half of the population, need emergency food rations, Richard Lee, a spokesman for the UN World Food Programme, said today in a telephone interview from Johannesburg, South Africa.
Bloomberg
Hunger in the news
29 January 2009

Over half of Zimbabweans need food aid: WFP

More than half of Zimbabwe's population, suffering under a severe economic and political crisis, will need food aid in February and March, the World Food Programme said on Thursday. The WFP said in a statement that it aims to assist 5.1 million people in February while a group of U.S.-sponsored aid organisations plans to assist 1.8 million more people in the southern African country. "The overall total for people in need of assistance in February and March is around 7 million," the WFP said. [...] Regional leaders decided at a summit on Tuesday that a unity government should be formed next month. Fears of the cholera spreading in Zimbabwe have stepped up pressure on rival parties to end the political uncertainty. [...] Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai has said he agreed to form a government with President Robert Mugabe although his Movement for Democratic Change voiced disappointment with the deal reached at the summit. MDC officials are expected to meet on Friday to discuss how to proceed.
Reuters
Hunger in the news
29 January 2009

Nearly 7 million Zimbabweans need food aid: UN

Zimbabwe's humanitarian disaster is far worse than anticipated with only six percent of the population formally employed and more than half in need of emergency food aid, a UN report said Thursday. Fewer than half a million Zimbabweans have jobs, while nearly seven million need emergency aid, UN agencies said in the latest stark illustration of the once-vibrant economy's collapse. The new grim estimate by the World Food Programme means that more than half of Zimbabwe's 12 million people do not have enough to eat, WFP regional spokesman Richard Lee told AFP. [...] "The economic situation has worsened more dramatically than we had anticipated," Lee said. The crisis has deteriorated so quickly that the agency is being forced to halve the cereal rations given to hungry Zimbabweans so that all the people in need can receive aid, he added. The WFP now plans to feed 5.1 million people, while other agencies will feed an additional 1.8 million people, Lee said.
Agence France Presse (AFP)
Hunger in the news
29 January 2009

Half of Zimbabweans need food aid

More than half of Zimbabwe's population will need food aid in February and March, the World Food Programme has said. The WFP said in a statement that it aims to assist 5.1 million people in February while a group of aid organisations plans to assist 1.8 million more in the southern African country. "The overall total for people in need of assistance in February and March is around 7 million," the WFP said.
ITV News
Hunger in the news
29 January 2009

Liberia faces second worm wave

The UN has warned Liberia could soon face a second wave of crop-destroying armyworms as the pests reproduce. Liberia's President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf declared a state of emergency this week and appealed for international aid to fight the insects. Some 400,000 residents in 100 villages have been affected by tens of millions of the insects, the UN says. The worms - which are actually caterpillars - are among the world's most destructive agricultural pests.
BBC News
Hunger in the news
29 January 2009

Press conference on Gaza situation

Joining the chorus of United Nations officials calling for the uninterrupted opening of border crossings into the Gaza Strip, the World Food Programme's (WFP) Regional Director for the Middle East today said that meeting the immediate needs of Palestinians left traumatized and homeless by Israel's three-week war with Hamas required the free flow of not just emergency food, but fuel, medicines and necessary building supplies. World Food Programme's Daly Belgasmi, whose responsibility also includes Central Asia and Eastern Europe, told correspondents during a Headquarters press conference that the sporadic border closings were only adding to the challenges the agency faced as Operation Lifeline Gaza scaled up deliveries of nutrition-fortified date bars, ready-to-eat meals for hospitals and schools, as well as sugar, wheat flour and vegetable oil.
Reliefweb
Hunger in the news
29 January 2009

Press conference on Gaza situation by World Food Programme official

Joining the chorus of United Nations officials calling for the uninterrupted opening of border crossings into the Gaza Strip, the World Food Programme's (WFP) Regional Director for the Middle East today said that meeting the immediate needs of Palestinians left traumatized and homeless by Israel's three-week war with Hamas required the free flow of not just emergency food, but fuel, medicines and necessary building supplies. World Food Programme's Daly Belgasmi, whose responsibility also includes Central Asia and Eastern Europe, told correspondents during a Headquarters press conference that the sporadic border closings were only adding to the challenges the agency faced as Operation Lifeline Gaza scaled up deliveries of nutrition-fortified date bars, ready-to-eat meals for hospitals and schools, as well as sugar, wheat flour and vegetable oil.
Reliefweb

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