The U.S. has pledged a record $56 million donation from PEPFAR to the U.N. World Food Programme (WFP) aimed to “dramatically increase resources for programs in Ethiopia providing vital nutrition assistance to people living with HIV (PLHIV),” according to a WFP press release. With the donation, “WFP will work in Ethiopia’s least developed regions … to improve the nutritional status, treatment success and quality of life of PLHIV,” the press release states (10/11).
Food Security and Nutrition
“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.
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.
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).
“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.
U.N. agencies, including the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Food Programme (WFP), are warning that South Sudan, the world’s newest nation, “will face chronic food shortages next year due to internal and border insecurity, erratic rains and a huge influx of returnees from the North,” IRIN reports. “U.N. Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator Lise Grande said more than three million people (36 percent of the population) in South Sudan were classed as moderately or severely food insecure in 2011, and the burden was increasing,” IRIN writes (9/27).
“Several American aid groups are criticizing the U.S. government delay on deciding whether to resume large-scale food donations to North Korea” after recent flooding deteriorated health and food security in the country, VOA News reports. The five U.S.-based, non-governmental organizations “warn that if substantial aid is not permitted in the next six to nine months, many vulnerable people in the impoverished communist state could die from starvation,” the news service writes.
USAID is working with non-governmental organization partners to test a “nutritional impact assessment tool” that “‘would be a way for organizations designing or reviewing agricultural programs to mitigate any risks or potential negative effects on nutrition — in other words a “do no harm” approach,’ said Michael Zeilinger, head of the nutrition division with USAID’s office of health, infectious disease and nutrition,” IRIN reports. “‘As we start to design major agriculture programs around value chains and increasing production (such as Feed the Future and Global Agriculture and Food Security Program), we should really remember that there are some practices in agriculture that may have potential negative effects on nutrition, and this is just to make sure that they’re thought through,’ Zeilinger told IRIN.”
Despite a seven percent annual growth rate over the past five years and a prediction from former President Alan Garcia that Peru will meet the millennium development goals (MDGs), “chronic infant malnutrition has been difficult to stamp out, particularly in rural areas,” the Guardian’s “Poverty Matters Blog” reports. In addition to geography challenging health workers in this mountainous country, language barriers, economic class and habits of eating lower-cost, low-protein foods contribute to malnutrition in children five years of age or younger, according to the blog.