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
25 January 2009

West African Villagers Stake Their Fortunes on the Future Price of Rice

[...] Hoping to take advantage of high global food prices that brought many poor nations to the brink of chaos last year, farmers across West Africa are reaping what experts say is one of the best harvests in recent memory. But after investing and borrowing heavily to expand their production, these farmers also run the risk of being wiped out as global food prices plummet.
New York Times
Hunger in the news
24 January 2009

U.N. considered suspending food aid to Somalia

The United Nations considered suspending delivery of food to areas of Somalia after the recent killings of two aid workers, said a spokesman for the organization's World Food Program. Gunmen shot and killed the workers in early January, causing the U.N. agency to worry about the safety of its staff. "We initially considered suspending WFP food distributions until security improves," said Ramiro Lopes da Silva in a statement released this week. "But such a step would hurt the very people we seek to help, especially women and children suffering the most from this merciless conflict." The agency still plans to deliver enough food to feed 2.5 million people in the next two months, but aid workers had concerns about their safety, Lopes da Silva said.
CNN
Hunger in the news
24 January 2009

UN set to double food aid in 'catastrophic' Kenya

The United Nations is aiming to double food aid for Kenya to reach at least four million people because of a situation the World Food Programme described Friday as "catastrophic". President Mwai Kibaki declared a "national disaster" in Kenya a week ago, saying 10 million people faced food shortages and launching an appeal for 400 million dollars (312 million euros) in foreign aid. [...] "We will certainly have to more than double the number of people who are benefitting," Burkard Oberle, the UN food relief agency's representative in Kenya, told journalists in Geneva. [...] Southeastern and coastal areas of Kenya, which only have one harvest a year, are particularly hard hit, according to the World Food Programme.
Agence France Presse (AFP)
Hunger in the news
24 January 2009

WFP: Kenya Facing Catastrophic Food Shortages

The World Food Program warns Kenya is facing a catastrophic decline of food and the agency will have to more than double the number of people it feeds there to over four million. WFP says drought and erratic rains following three successively poor harvest seasons have resulted in widespread crop failure. [...] WFP representative in Kenya, Burkard Oberle, says this post-election crisis set off a whole chain of instability, which has increased food shortages. He says southeastern and coastal areas of Kenya are particularly hard hit. "I have been traveling through the area myself and have seen very shocking pictures of crops having wilted, of whole fields not producing a single kernel of grain, of livestock migrating now into more distant regions in search of water," said Oberle. "Diseases for livestock are also on the increase. Rift Valley fever is also a threat that is spreading."
Voice of America News
Hunger in the news
23 January 2009

Kenya's parliament okays funds for maize

Kenya's parliament has given the government the green light to seek 7.9 billion shillings (about 99.1 million U.S. dollars) to buy food for the hungry citizens. The plan faced failure after lawmakers on Wednesday refused to allow the government to guarantee a loan to the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) for the purchase of relief food for the hungry. [...] 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. 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
Hunger in the news
23 January 2009

WFP in race to feed 6.5 mln in southern Africa

The U.N's World Food Programme needs to secure food aid for about 6.5 million people in southern Africa by April, the bulk of them in Zimbabwe where the humanitarian situation has worsened, a WFP official said on Friday. Zimbabwe alone has about 5.5 million people needing food aid and is also battling a cholera epidemic that has killed nearly 2,500 people in Africa's worst outbreak in almost a decade. The early part of the year is usually the peak hunger season in southern Africa, falling just before the start of the harvest season in April. Poor crops, dwindling food supplies and a shortfall in funding have made the situation worse, WFP said. WFP's southern Africa spokesman Richard Lee said the agency would target people living with HIV/AIDS, orphans and children in school feeding programmes among others. "January, February, March every year is the hungriest time of the year in southern Africa because our main annual harvest ... starts coming in around April," Lee said. "So these three months are always the hardest because there are so many very poor, very vulnerable people in this region, and this is always the period when the most people struggle to find food for themselves and for their families.
Reuters
Hunger in the news
23 January 2009

WFP buys 552,000 tonnes of food in southern Africa

The U.N's World Food Programme said on Friday it had bought a record 552,000 metric tonnes of food in southern Africa in 2008, enough to provide nearly 2.75 million people with a full food basket for a year. The food agency spent $190 million last year buying cereals, pulses, vegetable oil, corn-soya blend, salt and sugar in seven countries across the region. The previous record was set in 2005, when WFP bought just over 500,000 metric tonnes in southern Africa for $100 million, illustrating the jump in the price of staple foods, it said. The bulk of the food was bought in South Africa, where WFP purchased 430,000 metric tonnes at a cost of $141 million. While most of the food was distributed to vulnerable people in southern Africa, WFP used substantial quantities to assist hungry people in emergency situations, including Somalia, Kenya, Democratic Republic of Congo, Chad and Senegal.
Polity (South Africa) / Reuters
Hunger in the news
23 January 2009

Uganda and Burundi ready to send more troops to war-torn Somalia

Uganda and Burundi have put two battalions on standby to send to war-torn Somalia to fill the gap left by withdrawing Ethiopian troops, a Ugandan army spokesman said Friday. "There is no time framework under which we will send our soldiers there," Major Felix Kulayigye told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa. "We have a battalion ready, and it is just a matter of waiting for the logistics and then we will go." Ethiopia is pulling its forces out of Somalia after a two-year occupation that has failed to defeat Islamist forces, reported dpa. [...] The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) warned on Thursday that it might have to stop distributing food in Somalia if the safety of its staff cannot be guaranteed. Two WFP aid workers were shot in early January, adding to another five killed last year.
Trend News Agency / Deutsche Presse Agentur
Hunger in the news
23 January 2009

Japanese government sends 1 million dlrs. of relief goods to Palestinians in Gaza

The Japanese government on Friday sent 1 million dollars of relief goods to Palestinians in the Gaza Strip with the aim of helping make temporary shelters for civilian victims of Israel''s military attacks on the strip, which destroyed thousands of homes, officials here said . It included 29,000 blankets, 20,000 sleeping mats and 8,000 plastic sheets and is to be sent to the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East. Japan has already contributed about 10 million dollars of emergency aid to the reconstruction efforts in the Gaza Strip. Three million dollars of the emergency aid would go to the UN Children''s Fund, particularly for medical supplies, and 4 million dollars would be provided to the World Food Programme, the Foreign Ministry said.
Qatar News Agency
Hunger in the news
22 January 2009

U.N.: Somalia killings threaten food aid

The United Nations will be forced to end food distribution in Somalia unless armed groups there stop attacking U.N. staff, the World Food Programme (WFP) said on Thursday. Humanitarian workers have repeatedly been targeted during a two-year-old rebellion by Islamist insurgents that has killed more than 16,000 civilians and uprooted one million others. Four WFP staff have been killed since August last year. Peter Goossens, WFP country director for Somalia, said the U.N. agency was distributing about 57,000 metric tonnes of food to southern and central regions that he said would feed some 2.5 million people until around mid-February. "That is it basically," Goossens told a news conference in neighbouring Kenya.
Reuters

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