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
26 January 2009

Government to release P500 million more for humanitarian assistance to Mindanao

The Philippines will release an additional P500 million for humanitarian assistance to Mindanao as the government and the European Union (EU) renewed commitments to provide support to families affected by violence in Central Mindanao and the Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). [...] Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto Romulo thanked the EU for its two grants totaling €6.5 million EURO for humanitarian relief. International organizations and NGOs such as the World Food Program (WFP), International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), International Organization are implementing the grants for Migration, and Oxfam GB.
Philstar
Hunger in the news
26 January 2009

Japan to provide 9.5 million dollars in rice aid to Philippines

Japan will extend 9.5 million dollars in rice aid to hundreds of thousands of displaced people in the strife-torn southern Philippine region of Mindanao, a Japanese embassy statement said Monday. The aid will be in the form of 7,500 metric tons of rice, which will be distributed by the World Food Programme (WFP) to people displaced by fighting between government troops and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) rebels in Mindanao.
Earth Times / Deutsche Presse Agentur
Hunger in the news
26 January 2009

Kenya dissolves cereals board

The Kenyan government on Monday dissolved the National Cereals and Produce Board (NGPB) after carrying out an audit on its operations and structure. Agriculture Minister William Ruto said the board managers have been sent home and four new members of the board have been named. [...] Some 10 million Kenyans need food aid because of shortages and the government has appealed for emergency funds to deal with the matter. The UN World Food Program (WFP) said on Thursday it will increase food aid to 3.2 million hungry Kenyans who are facing food crisis. Last week, WFP spokeswoman Gabrielle Menezes told journalists in Nairobi that the UN agency plans to provide food aid for 3.2 million adults and infants and 850,000 school students. Menezes said the organization is currently carrying out an assessment in the affected parts to determine the extent of the famine and drought that has left about 10 million people or more starving.
Xinhua
Dossier: Food out of reach
26 January 2009

Kofi Annan warns against blinkers in crisis

The world's economic woes cannot be allowed to eclipse other key priorities, including protecting people from climate change and feeding the hungry, former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan said on Monday. In an interview ahead of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Annan also condemned recent fighting in Gaza as "appalling" and said the piracy near Somalia served as another warning of the risks of letting simmering crises fester. Referring to estimates from humanitarian agencies that the global food crisis could push 100 million more people into hunger, Annan said: "One hundred million starving people are as urgent as some of the issues we are fully focused on."
Reuters
Hunger in the news
26 January 2009

WFP Ramps Up Food Aid in Gaza

The World Food Program says many more people in Gaza are in need of food assistance now than before the three-week war with Israel began at the end of December. The U.N. agency says it will be providing food assistance to 365,000 non-refugee Palestinians, an increase of 100,000. [...] WFP Middle East Regional Director Daly Belgasmi was in Gaza just before the war began. He says the situation was dire then, but it is worse now. "Basic commodities remain in short supply and especially grain. The bakeries, they do not have sufficient wheat flour and the price of bread in many areas has doubled since the conflict began," said Belgasmi.
Voice of America News
Dossier: Food out of reach
26 January 2009

World must double food production by 2050: FAO chief

Global food production, already under strain from the credit crunch, must double by 2050 to head off mass hunger, the head of the UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation said on Monday. The food crisis pushed another 40 million people into hunger in 2008, Jacques Diouf said here at the start of a two-day international conference on food security. That brought the global number of undernourished people to 973 million last year out of a total population of around 6.5 billion, he said. [...] Ireland's Minister for Overseas Development Aid, Peter Power, said the hunger crisis had not been given the same level of attention as the fight against AIDS, the global financial crisis or climate change. "This silent tsunami is completely unacceptable," he said to applause from delegates. But Josette Shearan, the head of the UN World Food Program, the world's largest humanitarian agency, warned the world will only be able to produce enough food for everyone in 2050 if food security is made a top priority. "If we have to produce twice as much food and we are already in a situation where one out of every six people can't get access to adequate food, this compels us to put it at the top of the agenda," she said.
Agence France Presse (AFP)
Hunger in the news
26 January 2009

Zimbabwe Summit Begins as E.U. Imposes Fresh Sanctions

After southern African leaders held marathon talks on the Zimbabwe crisis that ended early Tuesday morning, the president of South Africa announced that Zimbabwe’s opposition had agreed to join a government with President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe. But an opposition spokesman said there was no such agreement. [...] Zimbabwe has plunged deeper into crisis amid massive unemployment and crippling hyperinflation, with half the population dependent on food aid.
New York Times
Hunger in the news
25 January 2009

Japan to provide $9.5 mln food aid to Philippines

Japan will provide an emergency food aid amounting to 9.5 million U.S. dollars to the thousands of war-displaced persons in the southern Philippine region of Mindanao, its embassy in Manila said on Sunday. The assistance will cover the distribution of 7,500 metric tons of rice to affected civilians through the United Nations' World Food Program (WFP).
Xinhua
Dossier: Food out of reach
25 January 2009

Our forgotten crisis

We do not see many references to the food crisis in the news these days. Headlines are dominated by the economic slowdown. Forgotten though it may be, however, the food crisis has not gone away. Millions of people still experience it every day. Prices may have fallen on global markets, but they nonetheless remain close to their 2008 peaks in many poor countries. The sheer volatility of prices makes it difficult for farmers to invest and plan; the global credit crunch compounds the problem. Across the developing world - and even in wealthy nations - the purchasing power of poor and middle-income families has declined with slowing economic growth. The numbers of hungry people unable to exercise their right to food stands near one billion. Fifty million are malnourished children.
International Herald Tribune
Hunger in the news
25 January 2009

Peace feels frail to displaced Ugandans

[...] A peace initiative launched in 2006 with LRA commander Joseph Kony brought a de facto cease-fire in Uganda, and there hasn't been an LRA attack here in two years. Emboldened by the security, thousands of families have been going home. Displacement camps that once held 90% of northern Uganda's population today house only a quarter, according to figures from the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees. [...] As soon as residents left, government workers tore down their huts, pockmarking the camp with rubble circles. Most aid groups have left. The United Nations' World Food Program has halved its distributions in northern Uganda since 2006, a spokeswoman said. And government soldiers who protected and patrolled the camps are deploying elsewhere. Camp and village children, once dubbed "night commuters," no longer walk each evening into the cities to sleep under armed guard to avoid being abducted. "The change has been dramatic," said Richard Todwong, an advisor to Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni.
Los Angeles Times

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