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
12 January 2009

DRC Insecurity Hampering Humanitarian Assistance

Humanitarian agencies are still trying to gather information from parts of northeastern DRC that were recently attacked by Ugandan rebels. Attacks by the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) killed hundreds of people and caused thousands of others to flee into the bush. UN agencies and others are trying to determine the exact number of people who need emergency assistance and the best way of getting it to them. Jim Farrell, spokesman for the World Food Program, spoke from Goma, in the eastern DRC, to VOA English to Africa Service reporter Joe De Capua about the status of relief operations.
VOA News (USA)
Responding to Emergencies
12 January 2009

Gaza death toll mounts to 900

Egyptian Minister of Trade and Industry Rashid Mohamed Rashid said yesterday that Egypt was ready to provide the Gaza Strip with food substances for three months as of today through the Kerem Shalom border crossing. "Egypt is set to provide Gaza with the type of food that suits the conditions there," Rashid said in a joint press conference with Josette Sheeran, the executive manager of the World Food Programme (WFP)
The Egyptian Gazette
Responding to Emergencies
12 January 2009

Inexplicable Wealth of Afghan Elite Sows Bitterness

[...] Seven years after the fall of the Taliban and the establishment of a civilian-led, internationally backed government, Afghanistan remains one of the poorest countries in the world, with rates of unemployment, illiteracy, infant mortality and malnutrition on a par with the most impoverished nations in sub-Saharan Africa. Most homes lack light, heat and running water; most babies are born at home and without medical help. Now, according to U.N. figures, the populace is getting even poorer. A combination of drought, soaring food prices, scarce jobs and meager wages has meant that about 5 million Afghans -- far more than in any recent year -- are slated to receive emergency food aid. Many families spend up to 80 percent of their income on food. [...] "People are really feeling the gap between rich and poor now," said Ebadullah Ebadi, a spokesman for the World Food Program here. "Once there were three classes in Afghanistan: the rich, the middle and the poor. Now those in the middle are joining the poor, and prices are rising so high that people can't feed their families on salaries that once allowed them to educate their children and even save a little money."
Washington Post
Hunger in the news
12 January 2009

Myanmar Rat Infestation Causing Food Crisis: NGO

Tens of thousands of people in remote northwestern Myanmar faced a food crisis after their farmlands were destroyed by a rat infestation, a non-governmental organization said Monday. The infestation erupted two years ago in Chin state, which borders Bangladesh and India, and some residents were now receiving rice handouts, said Joseph Win Hlaing Oo, director of the Country Agency for Rural Development. "We estimate that some 70,000 people in Chin State have been suffering from a food crisis since two years ago because of rat infestation and drought," he told AFP. [...] A separate report by the UN World Food Program said that 75 percent of crops in the area had been destroyed by rats and 30 percent of villagers surveyed had been forced by the rodents to leave their fields. "Farmers are reported to be struggling to meet day-to-day food needs, resorting to edibles gathered from the forests," the report said, adding that many people were migrating to border areas in India.
ABS-CBN News Agence France Presse (AFP)
Responding to Emergencies
12 January 2009

New Battlefield: Hackers attack Israeli and US websites

As the conflict escalates, both Palestine and Israel begin to use web tools to launch a 21 century modern web promotion battle, including hackers, YouTube Videos, Twitter and blogs. An American cyber crime analyst observes that, since Israeli military force started to attack Islamic Resistance Movement--Hamas in Gaza, hundreds of Israeli and US websites have been attacked by radical hackers. The first group of videos released by Israeli force includes a black-and-white video on Israeli airforce bombing a rocket projectile launcher inside Gaza and a color video, about World Food Programme food delivery cars accessing Gaza
CCID
Responding to Emergencies
12 January 2009

NGOs Struggle To Deliver Aid To Gaza

Aid supply to affected populations in Gaza is severely hampered due to logistical difficulties and challenges, aid agencies said. Insecurity continues to threaten aid delivery into Gaza despite measures such as humanitarian access points and the daily three- hour ceasefire. Meanwhile, the humanitarian situation in Gaza is grim. People are hungry, cold and lack access to electricity, heating or water, WFP spokesperson Robin Lodge said. WFP has distributed food to 96,000 people in Gaza to date.
La Depeche
Responding to Emergencies
12 January 2009

PAKISTAN: Nightmare for Civilians Uprooted by Conflict

Since Sep. 22, an estimated 400,000 people have fled their homes in Bajaur Agency in the wake of a military operation launched by the Pakistani army against Taliban militants. Conditions in the Kacha Garhi camp are appalling; the worst affected children. Khanum's seven, between the ages of 12 and a few months, are covered with mosquito bites. "You can hear children weeping through the night," she says. The NWFP government set up 11 camps to shelter internally displaced peoples (IDPs) from Bajaur and Mohmand agencies that are part of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), and Swat, a district in NWFP that has been riven with violence since 2006. [...] "About 51 percent of the camps' inmates suffer from acute respiratory infections and 19 percent had acute watery diarrhoea," says Dr Saeed Akbar Khan of the World Health Organisation that along with the World Food Programme (WFP) and UN children's agency, UNICEF, launched a 30 million dollars appeal to help IDPs in October. UNICEF estimates that 15 percent of children in the camps are severely malnourished. The worst affected are children from Nowshera, Lower Dir, Mardan, Charsadda, according to Dr Saeed Anwar.
Inter Press Service (IPS)
Responding to Emergencies
12 January 2009

U.N. Warns of Refugee Crisis in Gaza Strip

Growing numbers of Palestinians are fleeing their homes for makeshift shelters in schools, office buildings and a park as the Israeli Army continues to press its military campaign deeper into Gaza City. According to the United Nations, about 30,000 people are living in schools it sponsors and an estimated 60,000 have fled to the houses of relatives. The figures still represent a small part of Gaza's 1.5 million population but have doubled in the past four days, United Nations officials said, raising concerns about the humanitarian impact of a broader war.
IRIN News
12 January 2009

UN resumes aid distribution in Gaza

The United Nations will resume aid distribution for Palestinians in the Gaza Strip after receiving security assurances from Israel, the world body said in a statement late Friday. The UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) and the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process (UNSCO) said in a joint statement that the United Nations had received "credible assurances that the security of UN personnel, installations and humanitarian operations would be fully respected." "On this basis, UN staff movements suspended yesterday will resume as soon as possible," the two organizations said. [...] Meanwhile, World Food Programme (WFP) Executive Director Josette Sheeran visited the town of Rafah on the Egyptian border with Gaza to get first-hand information on the humanitarian challenges there. She pledged to provide food aid to some 360,000 of the non-refugee population in Gaza, up from 250,000 at present. Sheeran also has sent a senior WFP team to Jerusalem to urge the Israeli authorities to grant freer humanitarian access to Gaza so that the agency can respond to the immediate food needs. "It's critical that WFP and all humanitarian workers have free and unfettered access to the people of Gaza at this difficult time," she said, adding that food supplies were waiting in warehouses to be distributed to the hungry
France 24 / AFP
Responding to Emergencies
12 January 2009

UN rights council condemns Israeli offensive in Gaza

A divided UN Human Rights Council voted on Monday to condemn Israel's offensive in the Gaza Strip and set up a probe into "grave" human rights violations by Israeli forces against the Palestinians. The resolution setting up a fact-finding mission was adopted despite the lack of Western support. Thirty-three African, Asian, Arab and Latin American countries voted for the resolution. Thirteen mainly European states abstained, while Canada was the only country to vote against. The 47 member council -- frequently critical of Israel in the past -- normally seeks to adopt resolutions by consensus.
Agence France Presse (AFP)

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