“The U.N. on Wednesday said food assistance has reached nearly half the Somalis in need, [and] it warned cases of diarrhea and cholera could spike with the seasonal rains expected in October,” the Associated Press reports (9/28). “However, the report released Tuesday by the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said that four million Somalis remain in crisis nationwide, and that 750,000 people risk death in the Horn of Africa nation within the next four months,” according to VOA News.
Environment and Climate Change
During a visit to Ethiopia’s capital on Tuesday, USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah announced new grant programs to help the nation address food insecurity, the Associated Press reports. Shah said the U.S. will provide $110 million to a food security program that will benefit 1.5 million people, $10 million for a nutrition program and $1.2 million for loans to farmers, the news agency notes (10/4).
FAO Report Warns Increases In Cereal Production May Not Be Enough To Offset Global Economic Downturn
Worldwide cereal production is expected to increase in 2011-2012, but “there is uncertainty about the improvement’s impact on food security because of the global economic slump and increased risks for recession,” according to a U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) report released on Thursday, the Associated Press/Washington Post reports.
“Footage of malnourished North Korean orphans and official warnings over failed harvests have given a rare glimpse at the scale of devastating food shortages in the country following a harsh winter and widespread flooding,” the Guardian reports. “The World Food Programme (WFP) … estimated in March that a quarter of the country’s 24 million inhabitants needed food aid and that a third of children were chronically malnourished” and “has warned it has only 30 percent of the funding it needs for its relief operation, which targets 3.5 million of North Korea’s most vulnerable citizens,” the newspaper writes.
“Food crises are jeopardizing efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) of halving the proportion of people who suffer from hunger by 2015, United Nations (U.N.) food experts warned” on Monday, according to the Guardian. “In an annual report on world hunger, U.N. food agencies said food price volatility is likely to continue and possibly increase, making poor farmers, consumers and countries more vulnerable to poverty and food insecurity,” the news service writes.
The Guardian published a gallery of photographs taken in North Korea by Damir Sagolj, after “[a] harsh winter and widespread flooding have exacerbated the food shortage in [the country], leaving millions of people on a knife edge.” Sagolj traveled to North Korea with a group of journalists invited by the government “to see at firsthand how the situation has hit the country’s farm belt” in an effort to “highlight the humanitarian crisis” (10/11).
Science News: A New Killer Virus in China? “In June 2012, three men removing slag from a derelict copper mine in southwestern China fell ill with severe pneumonia and died. Six months later, researchers went spelunking in the mine—an artificial cave hewn from a hillside—in search of pathogens. After taking…
Reuters: Wind and dust can predict Sahel meningitis outbreaks — scientists “Scientists may soon be able to forecast disease outbreaks in sub-Saharan African’s ‘meningitis belt’ using weather data — and use that to plan early vaccination drives to prevent or limit casualties…” (Mintz, 3/20).
News outlets discuss a new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change detailing the potentially devastating consequences of global warming. Agence France-Presse: Weather extremes ‘consistent’ with man-made climate change: U.N. “The Philippines’ devastating Typhoon Haiyan and drought in Australia are among recent weather extremes consistent with man-made climate change,…
According to media sources, new WHO estimates show air pollution kills seven million people worldwide annually. Associated Press: WHO: Pollution kills 7 million people every year “Air pollution kills about seven million people worldwide every year, with more than half of the fatalities due to fumes from indoor stoves, according…