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
16 January 2009

Slow ride in Atlanta, big pain in Mogadishu

A yellow taxi sits idle at Hartsfield International Airport in Atlanta, Georgia, leaving its Somali immigrant driver visibly frustrated. [...] Amid a financial crunch that has many of Hagi's customers feeling the pinch, fewer fares and mounting bills have not stopped him from sending a big chunk of his paycheck home to his family. [...] Hagi and his family are not alone. Figures from the United Nations put nearly half of Somalia's population in need of humanitarian assistance, according to a report released in September. One in six Somali children under the age of 5 are acutely malnourished, the report found, and food is getting more costly. [...] Pitched battles between an Islamic insurgency and Ethiopian-backed transitional government forces have left thousands dead and rendered what many have called a "failed state" now teetering on the brink of its worst humanitarian crisis in over a decade, according to a World Food Program report. The United Nations says "all information indicates that the key factors driving this humanitarian crisis will continue to worsen over the coming months."
CNN
Food Security Analysis
16 January 2009

Zimbabwe unveils $100-trillion note

Zimbabwe will introduce a Z$100-trillion note, in its latest attempt to keep pace with hyperinflation that has left its once-vibrant economy in tatters, state media said Friday. [...] Meanwhile, chronic shortages of food are starting to bite again this year, as rural households' supplies from last year's harvest are running out months before the new crops will be ready. The World Food Programme says five million people - nearly half the population - are dependent on food aid.
The Mercury
Preventing Hunger
16 January 2009

ZIMBABWE: Tsvangirai appeals for aid ahead of talks

Morgan Tsvangirai, embattled leader of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), Zimbabwe's main opposition party, has urged humanitarian agencies to continue aid to the country, and announced plans to reopen negotiations with President Robert Mugabe. [...] The World Food Programme has predicted that 5.5 million people - half the population - will need food aid in the first quarter of 2009.
IRIN News
Hunger in the news
15 January 2009

Jean arrives in Haiti for second official visit

Gov. Gen. Michaelle Jean began a visit to her native Haiti with the country reeling from a succession of natural disasters that have intensified an already painful food crisis. A string of hurricanes has wiped away crops in a country where 40 per cent of children already suffer from severe or moderate stunting because of malnutrition. Now the United Nations World Food Programme warns that it could run out of supplies for Haiti by March, as international donations have fallen far short of their targets.
The Canadian Press
Hunger in the news
15 January 2009

The people crunch

Workers waiting at airports: some flying off to seek modest fortunes, others returning to poor homelands whose main export is people. These images of the global labour market in the early 21st century are starting to fade as economic times get harder, both in countries that take in migrants and (partly as a result) in countries that send them out. [...] As economies turn, migrants suffer. Many industries where they predominate (tourism in Ireland, financial services in Britain, construction in America and Spain) have shed jobs fast. Spanish unemployment is already 12%; many thousands of migrants are said to be claiming benefits. [...] The past few years have shown how important remittances have become in alleviating poverty and spurring investment in poor countries. In some cases they account for bigger flows of capital than aid or foreign investment. They spread wealth from rich to poor countries, but now remittances are being squeezed.
The Economist
Responding to Emergencies
14 January 2009

Israel, Aid Groups Have Long Feuded

The humanitarian disaster in Gaza -- hundreds of dead civilians, overflowing shelters, an acute shortage of anything to eat -- stems in part from a long-running feud between aid groups and Israel that has worsened since the war began, according to interviews with Israeli officials and international aid workers
Washington Post
Responding to Emergencies
13 January 2009

IDF to step up flow of humanitarian aid

The IDF plans to open more crossing points into Gaza starting on Wednesday, in an effort to vastly increase aid to the civilian population. Until now, food, medical supplies and animal feed have mostly gone in through Kerem Shalom, which was designed as a minor crossing point. The IDF now hopes to open the grain chute at the Karni crossing, a major passage way for goods, to allow for the transport of items such as corn, wheat and animal feed. [...] Separately, the European Union's aid chief blasted Israel's military action in Gaza. "It is evident that Israel does not respect international humanitarian law," EUaid commissioner Louis Michel said. Michel said his remark was based on expert accounts, the number of civilian casualties and the difficulty of getting humanitarian aid to the needy. He told Belgium's La Libre newspaper that Israel's actions were all the more difficult to accept because they come from a democracy. But as he stood at the Kerem Shalom crossing on Tuesday morning, Daly Belgasmi, who heads the regional bureau of the UN's World Food Program that provides assistance to 265,000 Gazans, had more positive things to say about Israel and the Kerem Shalom operation. Behind him, a line of trucks waited at the gate to Kerem Shalom to unload their cargo. "This is a life-line operation for us," Belgasmi said.
Jerusalem Post
Responding to Emergencies
13 January 2009

Israel Says Hamas Is Damaged, Not Destroyed

Despite heavy air and ground assaults, Israel has yet to cripple the military wing of Hamas or destroy the group's ability to launch rockets, Israeli intelligence officials said on Tuesday, suggesting that Israel's main goals in the conflict remain unfulfilled even after 18 days of war. The comments reflected a view among some Israeli officials that any lasting solution to the conflict would require either a breakthrough diplomatic accord that heavily restricts Hamas's military abilities or a deeper ground assault into urban areas of Gaza, known here as a possible "Phase Three" of the war.
New York Times
Responding to Emergencies
13 January 2009

Mozambique Food Aid Appeal

A drought in Mozambique has left around 350,000 people desperately in need of food aid. But the UN World Food Programme warned it is running short of funds as the southern African country heads towards its third consecutive year of drought. Central and southern regions of the country have had less than half their normal rainfall since October, meaning harvests have been severely hit. WFP spokesman Peter Transburg said: "We are $8.5 million (£5.8m) short for our programmes until April, we are talking to donors and if we don't get new contributions we will definitely be forced to cut the ration and discontinue the relief assistance."
ITV
Disaster Risk Reduction
13 January 2009

New soil map for African farmers

The first detailed digital soil map of sub-Saharan Africa is to be created. The £12m project will offer farmers in 42 countries a "soil health diagnosis" and advice on improving crop yields. Scientists from the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) will take soil samples from across the continent and analyse nutrient levels. These will be combined with satellite data to build a high-resolution map, to be disseminated freely to poor farmers by local extension workers. The interactive online map, known as the African Soil Information Service (AfSIS), will be accompanied by advice on how to tackle soil deficient in nutrients. It is the first stage of project to build a global digital map - called GlobalSoilMap.net - covering 80% of the world's soils.
BBC News

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