In this post in the Guardian’s “Poverty Matters Blog,” Lawrence Haddad, director of the Institute of Development Studies, writes, “We must politicize undernutrition, which is still a major global problem, so that it gets the attention it deserves.” He adds, “Three key elements of governance are critical to tackling undernutrition: capacity, accountability and responsiveness.”
Food Security and Nutrition
“As South Korean President Lee Myung-bak continued his state visit to the United States on Friday, a group of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) wants the Obama administration to explain what they call unconscionable delays in deciding whether to resume U.S. food assistance to North Korea,” Reuters reports. “Rising global commodities prices coupled with summer floods and typhoons have compounded the emergency this year, and the United Nations estimated in March that more than six million North Koreans urgently need food help,” the news agency writes.
U.S., South Korea Continue To Delay Food Aid To North Korea Despite 'Proven' Ability To Monitor Food Distribution
In this Christian Science Monitor opinion piece, Jim White, vice president of operations at Mercy Corps, and Matt Ellingson, director of program development at Samaritan’s Purse, who “co-led a team from five U.S.-based aid organizations that traveled to North Korea to deliver flood relief supplies” last month, ask why the U.S. and South Korea continue to delay food aid to North Koreans affected by the country’s food crisis despite the fact that “aid groups have a proven ability to monitor the way food is distributed in North Korea.”
The WHO said Thursday that “it plans to recommend tighter nutritional standards in food aid for young children, a move activists say is necessary to improve donations from countries such as the United States,” the Associated Press/Washington Post reports. “The new guidelines are likely to make food aid more expensive in the short term, but the improved formulas will be more effective at reducing moderate malnutrition in children under the age of five,” the news service writes (10/13).
KPLU 88.5’s “Humanosphere” blog reports on the World Food Prize symposium and Borlaug Dialogue taking place in Iowa this week, where “about 1,000 people, including many former heads of state and top agricultural policy folk, are gathered together to talk about â€¦ how to feed the planet’s growing population.” The blog examines the debate around a “new proposed Green Revolution for Africa,” led by “the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), which was launched largely thanks to support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation,” and provides links to recent media coverage related to global food security and hunger (Paulson, 10/12).
DRC Worst Off Among 26 Countries Facing 'Alarming' Or 'Extremely Alarming' Hunger Levels, According To New Global Hunger Index
“Twenty-six countries have ‘alarming’ or ‘extremely alarming’ hunger levels, with the situation deteriorating particularly badly in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), according to this year’s Global Hunger Index,” AlertNet reports. The report (.pdf) was released by the International Food Policy Research Institute, Welthungerhilfe, and Concern Worldwide and “focuses on the impact of rising food prices on the world’s poorest people,” the news service writes. “DRC â€¦ has the highest proportion of undernourished people — about 70 percent of the population — and one of the highest child mortality rates,” AlertNet notes, adding that “the report does not reflect this year’s famine in the Horn of Africa, because of time lags in obtaining data” (Batha, 10/11).
India’s Hindustan Times reports on “a striking contrast between rising economic prosperity and stagnating rates of malnutrition” in Mumbai, where “80,000 children … are malnourished, according to government data, a statistic that makes Mumbai the most malnourished city in India.” The newspaper writes, “Malnourishment in Mumbai could actually be worse than India believes,” because estimates are based “on data provided by Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS), a government child-care program that reaches only a quarter of children in the city’s slums.”
“The U.N. World Food Programme [WFP] said Wednesday that more Yemenis were going hungry because of rising food prices and severe fuel shortages brought about by months of political unrest,” Agence France-Presse reports. “The months of violence and instability have pushed the already stressed Yemeni economy to the brink of collapse and forced millions of families further into poverty,” the news service writes, noting that “WFP â€¦ is expanding its services to help feed some 3.5 million of the most vulnerable people in Yemen” (10/12).
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).
CNN/Global Health Frontline News examines how “ready-to-use therapeutic foods” are being used in Haiti to help children with severe malnutrition. U.S. nonprofit organization Meds and Food for Kids makes “Medika Mamba, which means ‘peanut butter medicine’ in Creole. It’s a ready-to-eat paste packed with nutritious ingredients that — over a period of weeks — gives a jolt to the system and puts children back on track,” the news agency writes. The organization partners with local farmers to manufacture the product in Haiti and plans “to produce a new version of its product … which meets the requirements of major agencies such as the World Food Programme and UNICEF” in coming years, according to the news agency (Strieker, 10/11).