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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Preventing Hunger
20 January 2009

UN endeavors to increase girls' enrollment in southern Nepal

United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) and United Nations World Food Program (WFP) have announced a joint effort to increase Nepali girls' attendance in primary schools in five southern Terai districts where gender disparity rates are some of the highest. School enrollment of girls in these districts is far behind Nepal's national average where less than half of them complete primary education, said the joint press release issued on Tuesday. "Providing monthly-take home rations to girls is a powerful tool for increasing school attendance because it enables girls to help feed their families," said WFP Deputy Country Representative, Dominique Hyde, adding that this joint program will enhance how communities view the education of girls and provide them with a major incentive to send them to school regularly.
Xinhua
Aid professionals
20 January 2009

Kidnapped aid workers are 'alive'

The International Committee of the Red Cross has said that the three staff abducted by gunmen in the southern Philippines are alive and well. Telephone calls made by the three from Friday to Monday have confirmed they are still being kept together. But they also relayed a message from their abductors demanding that the military stop searching for them. The ICRC also quashed rumours that any ransom demand had been made, stressing the organisation does not pay ransoms.
BBC News
Hunger in the news
20 January 2009

'Dark day' as Zimbabwe talks fail

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai have failed in their latest attempt to form a unity government. After 12 hours of talks, Mr Tsvangirai said it was "probably the darkest day of our lives" for his party. [...] Mr Mugabe said he intended talks with the MDC to continue ahead of a regional summit on Zimbabwe's crisis next week. [...] The political deadlock has exacerbated the problems facing Zimbabweans, from a cholera epidemic and an economic meltdown to food shortages and the collapse of basic services such as health and education.
BBC News
Hunger in the news
20 January 2009

Oro mayor lets out wrong info to UN?

[...] The World Food Programme, the United Nations humanitarian agency, is sending 630 tons of rice to help flood-stricken residents of Cagayan de Oro and Iligan cities and the provinces of Misamis Oriental and Lanao del Norte. [...] [WFP deputy country director Alghassim Wurie] said the UN will send 1,747 bags of rice to feed some 17,638 families or 91,746 individuals in 47 of Cagayan de Oro's 80 barangays. Misamis Oriental, on the other hand, will receive 6,815 bags for its 14,105 families or 64, 719 persons affected by the disaster. Misamis Oriental briefed Wurie and the UN representatives about the damages using a Powerpoint presentation. Baicon Macaraya of the UNWFP Philipines, explaining the discrepancy, said they decided on the rice allotment based on "need and urgency." "There are homeless people in Misamis Oriental. We also determine their capacity to earn in the next few months," Macaraya told Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro. UNWFP Country Director and Representative Stephen Anderson said humanitarian assistance should be given to farmers and fishermen who will bear the brunt of starvation in the lean months after the disaster.
Sun Star
Hunger in the news
20 January 2009

The times, they are a-changin’

[...] I have always wanted to be part of a historic social and political movement. [...] I decided that even though my birthday was about 40 years too late, I can still be a part of a movement to create change in this world. I took this dream to Washington and had the life-altering experience of interning with the United Nations World Food Programme, an organization dedicated to the fight against global hunger. [...] It wasn’t until after my internship with WFP ended that I was able to really appreciate the efforts of those I worked with – the individuals who made me realize that although the world hunger situation is complex, hope remains. People have the power to create a world where every person has access to adequate food and nutrition.
Indiana Daily Student
Hunger in the news
20 January 2009

UN chief's impact on Gaza truce

After seven hectic days in the Middle East, the UN chief is heading back to New York. Ban Ki-moon's aim when he left was to press for a ceasefire in Gaza, and call for humanitarian aid to be delivered to those in need. He returns with two ceasefires, and no Egyptian-negotiated truce agreement between Israel and Hamas. [...] In the end, Israel stuck to its own timetable of wrapping up the military offensive in Gaza - in time for the inauguration of US President Barack Obama. However Mr Ban did publicly call for Israel to call a unilateral ceasefire, it became clear to him that the Egyptian peace talks weren't reaching agreement on how to stop Hamas smuggling weapons into Gaza and how to re-open the border crossings into the strip to allow food and aid to get in. And Israel did call a unilateral ceasefire, so at the very least that was an astute reading of Israel's options by the softly spoken secretary general.
BBC News
Hunger in the news
19 January 2009

Star backs campaign to tackle hunger

Pop star Jamelia is backing a new campaign urging schoolchildren to help combat hunger in the developing world. The initiative will call on pupils across England to donate 10p each time they have a school lunch to provide some of the world's poorest children with a nutritious meal. [...] All of the money raised will go to the UN World Food Programme (WFP) to fund school meals for children enrolled in their school feeding programmes in countries including Cambodia, Kenya and Guatemala. Last week Jamelia visited Nairobi to see the work of the WFP and where the money raised from the Really Good School Dinner programme will be spent.
The Yorkshire Post
Hunger in the news
19 January 2009

Haiti's storm emergency fades, but hunger remains

More than 150,000 people are surviving on donated food in the flood-battered city of Gonaives and the United Nations says more aid is urgently needed to stave off famine in parts of Haiti four months after ravaging storms. [...] What we are going to do now, from January onward, is to support the vulnerable people, to support the children so they keep growing healthy," U.N. World Food Program country director Myrta Kaulard said Thursday during a tour of affected areas. The WFP is asking countries to donate $100 million for Haiti, saying the organization's current funding will last only through February. It requested the same last year but received only $68 million.
Washington Post
Hunger in the news
19 January 2009

In Zimbabwe, Deal Likely to Fly or Fail This Week

Zimbabwe’s president, Robert Mugabe, and its prime minister in waiting, Morgan Tsvangirai, have not agreed on much since they signed a deal four months ago to run the government together. But on Sunday they seemed to find common ground on at least one thing: their power-sharing deal will either come to fruition this week or collapse. [...] The consequences of the country’s political turmoil — and the absence of an undisputed government since March — have turned the country into a humanitarian disaster zone. A cholera epidemic brought on by the collapse of water, sanitation and health services still rages. More than 43,000 cases have been reported since August and almost 2,300 people have died. About half the population is now hungry and dependent on international food aid.
New York Times
Hunger in the news
19 January 2009

Kenya seeks $463 mln to feed hungry citizens

The Kenyan government on Friday launched an international appeal seeking 37 billion shillings (about 463 million U.S. dollars) to feed its hungry population as it has declared the famine situation in the country as a national disaster. [...] Currently, the Kenyan government and the World Food Program are feeding 1.4 million people under [an] emergency operation program. Another 1 million people are also fed through direct government interventions. However, Kibaki said these ongoing programs cannot absorb the sharp increase in numbers of needy people requiring relief food without additional resources.
Xinhua

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