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

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
Hunger in the news
29 January 2009

Sweden to send naval vessels to Somalia

The Government decided today to request the permission of the Riksdag to place Swedish armed forces at the disposal of the EU maritime operation off the coast of Somalia, Operation Atalanta. Operation Atalanta was launched in December 2008 and is intended to protect deliveries of humanitarian aid from the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and to deter, prevent and repress acts of piracy and armed robbery off the Somali coast. The operation, which is clearly grounded in international law through the Law of the Sea, has a mandate from the United Nations Security Council and is taking place at the invitation of the Transitional Government of Somalia.
Reliefweb
Hunger in the news
29 January 2009

UN launches $613m appeal for Gaza

The UN has launched an appeal for $613m to help people affected by Israel's military offensive in Gaza. "These needs are massive and multi-faceted," Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told the World Economic Forum in Davos. He added that funds would be used to "help overcome at least some measures of this hardship". In the region itself, US envoy George Mitchell said the Palestinian Authority should play a part in cementing the Gaza Strip's shaky truce.
BBC News
Hunger in the news
29 January 2009

YouTube boss in demand, some slip on Putin title

Sean Penn is here on screen if not in the flesh. Penn is appearing in a public service message for the U.N. food agency previewing this week at the World Economic Forum urging people not to forget the needy during the global financial crisis. The ad shows Penn unrolling rolls of dollar bills that create a graph showing how little it would cost to feed every hungry schoolchild for a year. "What some people don't realize is that for the world's hungry the financial crisis is hitting them hard," World Food Program chief Josette Sheeran said. Sheeran asks that governments donate a small fraction of their stimulus packages to help the poor.
International Herald Tribune
Hunger in the news
29 January 2009

Zimbabwe Government to Deal in Foreign Currencies

Zimbabwe's government admitted defeat Thursday in a fight against dizzying inflation, allowing business to be done in U.S. dollars and bank notes of neighboring countries. Zimbabwe has the world's highest official inflation, with its currency now printed in the trillions of dollars. This month, the central bank introduced a new 100 trillion Zimbabwe dollar note. The announcement by acting Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa acknowledged the black market practices that have been a reality for months because of Zimbabwe's economic meltdown. [...] Zimbabwe has been nearly paralyzed by the crisis precipitated by disputed presidential elections last year. Politicians agreed to a coalition government in September but for months have been unable to agree how to share Cabinet posts. The impasse has stranded Zimbabweans in a prolonged economic crisis, with hospitals, schools and sanitation infrastructure left to collapse. The U.N. food program said Thursday that 7 million Zimbabweans -- 80 percent of the population by some estimates -- need food aid.
New York Times / AP
Hunger in the news
28 January 2009

Japan donates P455-M for Mindanao food aid

The Japanese government on Wednesday said it will contribute P455 million to the World Food Programme in the Philippines to purchase rice for residents affected by recent hostilities in Mindanao. The food aid was announced during a signing ceremony of a grant agreement between the Japan International Cooperation Agency and the UN World Food Programme on Wednesday. The JICA Grant Agreement formalizes the support of Japan to conflicted-affected populations in Mindanao whose needs have increased following the upsurge in conflict in August 2008. WFP Country Director Stephen Anderson said the contribution is the third from Japan to the WFP in the Philippines. "The World Food Programme is extremely grateful to the government of Japan for its generosity. This donation will play a critical role in complementing longer-term initiatives in Mindanao by providing immediate and direct food assistance to conflict-affected households, thus building their stake in the peace process," he said in a statement.
ABS-CBN News
Hunger in the news
28 January 2009

Burma's 'abused Chin need help'

The US group Human Rights Watch has called for better protection of the Chins, one of Burma's least known and most persecuted minorities. Ill-treatment of many ethnic minorities by the Burmese military has been extensively documented by international human rights groups. But Human Rights Watch say there has been little attention given to the plight of the Chins. [...] Their plight is compounded by acute food shortages - the UN's World Food Programme estimates that food consumption in Chin state is the lowest in Burma.
BBC News
Hunger in the news
28 January 2009

UN: Myanmar faces food crisis because of cyclone

Myanmar faces food shortages in many parts of the country, largely because of last year's cyclone and a rat infestation that destroyed crops, according to a U.N. report released Wednesday. About 185,000 tons of emergency food aid will be needed this year throughout the impoverished country, said the report by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Food Program. [...] "Access to food remains the critical challenge for the poorest people and for vulnerable populations in remote areas of Myanmar," said Chris Kaye, WFP's representative for Myanmar. "For many of those affected by Cyclone Nargis, who are engaged in rebuilding their lives and livelihoods, the limited delta harvest means they will continue to rely on assistance to meet their food needs."
Washington Post / AP
Hunger in the news
28 January 2009

Who will rebuild Gaza?

Even as aid agencies struggle to meet the immediate needs of those left injured, homeless and traumatised by the Israeli operation in Gaza, concerns are growing that reconstruction efforts could become bogged down in a complex political tangle. Initial Palestinian estimates said rebuilding would cost $2bn (£1.4bn) and take three to five years, even without the host of obstacles Gaza faces. [...] UN relief agency Unrwa says it has contacts with Hamas "even at ministerial level", but strictly on technical issues related to the delivery of its humanitarian services in line with wider UN policy. And the distribution of some World Food Programme aid is carried out by Hamas - albeit with strict monitoring in place to ensure it reaches the people it is intended for. "In every country that we work in, we deal with the authorities - so in Gaza we deal with the Ministry of Social Affairs. "If the next question is 'Are they Hamas?', then the answer is 'Yes they are'," says spokesman Robin Lodge.
BBC News

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