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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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
Responding to Emergencies
13 January 2009

UN chief wants Gaza conflict halt

The UN secretary general has implored Israel and Palestinian militants to halt the fighting in Gaza immediately. Ahead of a trip to the region to push for a truce, Ban Ki-moon said too many people had died and there had been too much civilian suffering.
BBC News
Aid professionals
12 January 2009

The Politics of Hunger

Politicians have it in their power to solve the food crisis, but they must be willing to end the biases against big commercial farms, and genetically modified crops and do away with farm subsidies. So says Oxford University professor Paul Collier in this essay for Foreign Affairs
Foreign Affairs
Nutrition
12 January 2009

Investing in Early Childhood Nutrition

It has long been known that good nutrition is essential to children’s physical and cognitive development, but recent evidence sheds new light on the optimal timing of interventions to improve child nutrition. Marie Ruel and John Hoddinott produced this policy paper for IFPRI.
IFPRI
Responding to Emergencies
12 January 2009

Lives of the Saints

Jonathan Harr, reporter at large for The New Yorker, takes a close look at the lives of international aid workers and their organisations in the central African nation of Chad.
New Yorker
Responding to Emergencies
12 January 2009

Aid agencies in Gaza resume deliveries

Aid agencies said Monday they have resumed relief operations in Gaza, but fighting still prevents them from evacuating the sickest people and reaching all those who need help. [...] As many 88 percent of Gaza's residents now require food aid, said Helene Gayle, president of the relief organization CARE USA. The three-hour lull in fighting that Israel allows for humanitarian aid to move around Gaza is not sufficient, she said. "Food distribution takes a minimum of five hours under normal circumstances, so three hours with no guarantee of safety is woefully inadequate for us to do our job," she said in a conference call with reporters. [...] The World Food Program handed out 1,200 monthly food rations to people in Gaza and 1,400 emergency bread packages Sunday, said spokeswoman Emilia Casella. But the agency has been unable to reach many people who need food, she said.
Washington Post
Responding to Emergencies
12 January 2009

Aid worker: Gaza blockade lacks all humanity

Cassandra Nelson is a humanitarian aid worker with Mercy Corps. She spends most of her time deployed in hotspots and hostile areas. She has worked in Iraq, Darfur, Lebanon, South Sudan, Zimbabwe, Liberia, North Korea, Sri Lanka, Banda Aceh, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran. Here she describes her experiences trying to provide relief in Gaza.
CNN

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