High-level officials from UNICEF and the World Food Programme (WFP) this week warned that “[r]outine immunization of children has dropped by 40 percent in some areas of Yemen, leading to outbreaks of polio and measles and reflecting a growing collapse of public services in a country that is on the brink of a humanitarian disaster,” IRIN reports. Earlier this month, U.N. Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Valerie Amos cited “conflict, poverty, drought, soaring food prices and collapsing state services” as reasons for widespread suffering of millions of people in the country, according to IRIN.
Environment and Climate Change
A post in USAID’s “IMPACTblog” recognizes Howard Buffett, president of the Howard G. Buffet Foundation, and Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, both recipients of the World Food Program USA’s 10th Annual George McGovern Leadership Awards, “for their extraordinary efforts to fight global hunger”; reports on USAID Administrator…
Speaking at a World Food Programme (WFP) awards ceremony in Washington, D.C., on Monday, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said the U.S. “is increasing food aid to drought-hit and strife-torn Horn of Africa nations where millions of people are at risk of starvation and malnutrition,” Reuters reports (Allen, 10/24).
Gates To Tell G20 Leaders To Continue Funding Health, Agriculture Programs Despite Economic Downturn, Reuters Reports
In an interview with Reuters, Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, said Monday “he would tell G20 leaders at a summit in France next month … it was critical that rich donors continue to fund health and agriculture projects in developing countries despite budget cuts in the United States and Europe,” the news agency reports. “He said there was ample evidence that agricultural and health programs in developing countries made a big difference in the livelihoods of the poor and boosted economic stability,” Reuters writes.
Though the humanitarian response to the food crisis in the Horn of Africa has lessened the suffering of thousands of people in the region, “more resources are needed to save the lives of hundreds of thousands of children in famine-hit areas of Somalia, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said” in a progress report released Thursday, the U.N. News Centre reports. Releasing the report, Elhadj As Sy, UNICEF regional director for Eastern and Southern Africa, “called for the scaling up of integrated interventions in health, nutrition, food security, water and sanitation, education and child protection,” according to the news service (10/20).
“Wealthier countries need to put aside politics to help millions of North Koreans going hungry from food shortages, the U.N.’s top relief official said Friday, renewing an appeal for assistance that has largely gone unmet,” the Associated Press/CBS News reports. Following a five-day visit to North Korea, U.N. Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Valerie Amos “said millions of North Koreans, particularly children, mothers and pregnant women, need help,” as they do not have access to protein- and nutrient-rich foods, according to the AP.
“The United Nations and the United States Peace Corps signed an agreement today to cooperate in combating worldwide hunger by increasing food security in the 76 countries where the more than 8,600 U.S. volunteers currently work,” the U.N. News Centre reports. “The agreement, signed by the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and UN World Food Programme (WFP) at their Rome headquarters, builds on years of cooperation with the 50-year-old U.S. organization,” the news service writes.
Though emergency humanitarian assistance has helped keep people alive in the Horn of Africa, “this effort is not sustainable,” David Morley, president and CEO of UNICEF Canada, writes in a Globe and Mail opinion piece. “Trucking in water and flying in food and medicine save lives, but we must rethink the way aid agencies operate in the region. We need to blend the immediate life-saving effort with creative longer-term community development … and involve everyone affected by the crisis. Farmers, herders, refugees and displaced people, local communities and government officials have valuable insights that a massive humanitarian response all too often overlooks,” he continues.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation “on Tuesday announced a $2.5 million grant to Mercy Corps to fund relief and longer-term recovery efforts in drought-stricken Wajir County on Kenya’s border with Somalia,” representing “more than 40 percent of the $5.4 million in private funds that Mercy Corps has raised to date for Horn of Africa relief efforts,” the Seattle Times reports. The Gates Foundation on Tuesday also “announced a $1.6 million grant to International Medical Corps to provide emergency food assistance and to help improve health, hygiene and sanitation in northern Somalia and eastern Ethiopia,” the newspaper writes (Bernton, 10/18).
Environmental health experts, scientists and government officials attending a conference in London sponsored by the British Medical Journal on Monday “issued a statement warning that climate change could not only bring a global health catastrophe but could threaten global stability and security as well, a journal release said,” UPI.com reports (10/17).