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Food Security and Nutrition

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Doctors, Aid Workers Warn Of Disease Threats To Displaced Persons In Somalia

Inter Press Service examines how doctors and aid workers in and around Mogadishu, Somalia, “are warning that famine victims in internally displaced camps have become vulnerable to contagious diseases like cholera and measles, as conditions here are ripe for an outbreak.” Sanitation and access to food and drinking water are the greatest concerns, IPS reports, adding that “[w]hile international aid continues to be delivered to Somalia, relief efforts at some camps have dwindled or stopped.” The news service writes, “The Somali government’s Mogadishu spokesman Mohamed Abdullahi Arig told IPS that the government needed help to prevent a possible cholera outbreak and to prevent other communicable diseases from spreading in the camps. ‘The government is more vigilant, but our capacity is too little. We need the international community’s assistance in this sector,’ Arig said” (Abokar, 11/17).

HuffPost Green Examines Relationship Between Environment, Malaria

As part of its series on the relationships between human, animal and environmental health, titled “The Infection Loop,” HuffPost Green examines how changes in climate and landscape, human movement, agricultural practices, and microbe adaptation are affecting the spread of malaria. “Our disease-fighting weaponry has certainly improved in recent years, from the widespread distribution of insecticide-treated bed nets to hopeful progress towards a malaria vaccine,” but some “experts suggest that getting ahead of the disease, let alone maintaining a lead, is far easier said than done,” according to the article, which includes quotes from malaria researchers working in several academic disciplines (Peeples, 11/16).

WFP Says More Than 1M Zimbabweans Will Need Food Aid Through March 2012

More than one million Zimbabweans will need food aid between now and March 2012 because of poor harvests and food prices out of reach for vulnerable families, the U.N. World Food Programme (WFP) said Monday, the Associated Press reports (11/21). The agency “said it was facing a $42 million funding shortfall for food aid it planned to provide to vulnerable households in Zimbabwe’s hardest-hit areas until the start of the harvest season in March,” Reuters writes (11/21). According to a recent survey, “12 percent of the rural population will not have the means to feed themselves adequately during the lean season,” a WFP press release notes, adding, “Most at risk are low-income families hit by failed harvests, and households with orphans and vulnerable children” (11/21).

Increasing Food Supply Through Production, Trade Policies Necessary To Prevent Widespread Hunger

“If we are to succeed in alleviating poverty and providing the necessary framework for sustainable development on our planet, there is no more pressing need than ensuring the supply of affordable food for our people,” Pascal Lamy, director-general of the World Trade Organization, writes in the Guardian’s “Poverty Matters Blog.” He continues, “There are two keys to tackling this problem, enhancing production — particularly in Africa — and ensuring that trade in food flows unhindered from the lands of the plenty to the lands of the few. Without immediate action in these two areas, there is a risk that hunger will become even more widespread, with many million more lives at stake” (11/21).

Millions Of Afghans Face Hunger, Disease After Drought Destroys Crops

“Up to three million people in Afghanistan are facing hunger, malnutrition and disease after a severe drought wiped out their crops and extreme winter weather risks cutting off their access to vital food aid, a group of aid agencies warned Friday,” Reuters reports. Poor rains in many parts of the country destroyed crops and food prices have nearly doubled since last year, causing many families to skip meals, move into neighboring countries, or take loans to purchase food, the groups said, according to the news agency. The U.N. made an emergency appeal for $142 million in October to help families affected by the drought, but only seven percent has been funded by international donors, Reuters notes (Bhalla, 11/18).

U.S., U.N. Food Agencies Downgrade Three Somalia Famine Zones To Emergency Status

U.S. and U.N. food agencies on Friday said three famine zones in Somalia had been downgraded to emergency status, as aid had reduced death rates, but “three other areas — including the refugee communities of Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu — remain in the famine zone,” the Associated Press/CBSNews reports. The agencies “warn[ed] that a quarter million Somalis face imminent starvation, and that military battles are preventing food deliveries,” according to the AP (11/18). The U.N. Food Security Nutrition Analysis Unit (FSNAU) said in a statement, “Overall, food security outcomes remain the worst in the world, and the worst in Somalia since the 1991/92 famine,” Agence France-Presse notes (11/18).

White House Holds Call To Discuss Famine In The Horn Of Africa

A post in the Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks” blog highlights a White House call “with faith-based organizations Wednesday afternoon to discuss efforts in the Horn of Africa to combat the extensive famine brought on by a severe drought in the region, the worst seen in decades.” The…

U.S. Offers North Korea Flood Assistance, Considering Food Aid Separately

“The United States has offered North Korea up to $900,000 in emergency flood assistance but has made no decision yet on a broader request for humanitarian food aid for the isolated country, the State Department said on Thursday,” Reuters reports. State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland “said the flood assistance would not include food, and was considered separately from a standing appeal by North Korea for food aid to offset bad harvests that a U.N. report said earlier this year had left millions hungry,” according to the news agency (Quinn, 8/18).

Guardian Focus Podcast Examines Unfolding Crisis In Somalia

In this month’s Guardian Focus global development podcast, the newspaper “look[s] at the unfolding crisis in the Horn and focus[es] in on Somalia, where conflict and political instability pose steep challenges for short-term relief and long-term development … To discuss these issues, Madeleine Bunting is joined in the studio by…

Food Aid System 'Needs An Overhaul'

The cost of addressing the effects of drought and famine in the Horn of Africa “has soared to $2.5 billion, just to keep malnourished children alive, and the number of people requiring humanitarian aid has doubled” since “November last year, [when] it would have cost $500 million to prevent the situation from deteriorating,” Jo Khinmaung, a food security policy adviser for Tearfund, writes in the Guardian’s “Poverty Matters Blog.”

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