Hunger Is Man-Made

Jun 5 — This week Oxfam launched Grow, its most ambitious campaign.

We published research which warned that the average price of key foods such as maize, wheat and rice will more than double in the next 20 years, forcing millions into chronic hunger. There are already more than 900 million people who do not have enough to eat.

This is a man-made disaster: the result of an international food system which creates huge profits for a few while leaving millions hungry. Three US companies – Archer Daniels Midland, Bunge and Cargill – control nearly 90% of the world’s grain trade. In the first quarter of 2008, at the height of a global food price crisis, Cargill’s profits were up 86%, and the company is now heading for its most profitable year yet.

Read moreHunger Is Man-Made

Central Africa Crops Fail, Millions At Risk

After years of drought, flash floods have destroyed harvests in Niger

central-africa-crops-fail-millions-at-risk
Nineteen-month old Amina at Save the Children’s clinic for severely manlnourished children in Aguie, Niger, yesterday. Two of her siblings have already died within the past year
HARRIET LOGAN/SAVE THE CHILDREN

Hundreds of thousands of children across central Africa are at risk of death from starvation and disease after flash flooding worsened an already chronic humanitarian crisis caused by drought.

Aid agencies warned yesterday that 10 million people are already facing severe food shortages, particularly in the landlocked countries of Chad and Niger, after a drought led to the failure of last year’s crops. As many as 400,000 children are at risk of dying from starvation in Niger alone, according to Save the Children.

Now unusually heavy rains have washed away this year’s crops and killed cattle in a region dependent on subsistence agriculture. Organisations including Oxfam and Save the Children say that the slow international response to the emergency means that only 40 per cent of those affected are receiving food aid. As many as four out of five children require treatment for malnutrition in clinics.

Such is the shortage of international aid that the United Nations World Food Programme has had to scale back its £57m operation to feed eight million people in Niger and instead concentrate its efforts on the most vulnerable – children under two – according to Oxfam.

Save the Children says the increased malnutrition rate could swiftly be followed by an increase in the number of children dying from disease because of floods in Niger caused by heavy rain over the past few weeks. “Stagnant pools of water have been contaminated by animal carcasses and are a breeding ground for malaria-carrying mosquitoes. This has increased the threat of malaria, respiratory disease and diarrhoea – the biggest killers of young children,” the organisation said.

Read moreCentral Africa Crops Fail, Millions At Risk

Niger: People eat leaves and lizards to survive, millions of people are facing starvation

Aid organisations are warning that millions of people are facing starvation from drought and crop failure in the West African country of Niger, and some people are turning to desperate measures to survive.

famine-hit-niger-in-1984-and-2005

Famine hit Niger in 1984 and 2005

If you look up “bo” on the internet, nothing that makes sense comes up. But we were looking at a bo, or rather looking for it.

We were walking along the bank of the Niger river, searching for the tracks of a hippopotamus that was ravaging the corn on Karim’s farm.

All of a sudden, a lizard about the size of a small crocodile hurtled out of the undergrowth and raced up a nearby baobab tree.

“It’s a bo,” everybody cried, racing to the foot of the enormous tree.

Now I had never seen a bo before, so I was interested out of pure curiosity.

The handful of villagers with us had other ideas, though. “The bo is delicious,” explained Karim. “It has the taste and texture of fish, and the inside of it is all white.

“You don’t see them very often. There are not that many about.”

Moustafa, Karim’s head man, was talking excitedly into his mobile phone. “He’s calling the kids from the village,” explained our host.

“He wants them to climb the tree and get the poor creature down.”

It was hardly surprising, I thought, that the bo was scarce. It is rotten luck to be a delicious animal in a land where people are hungry.

Read moreNiger: People eat leaves and lizards to survive, millions of people are facing starvation

Israeli blockade ‘forces Palestinians to search rubbish dumps for food’

UN fears irreversible damage is being done in Gaza as new statistics reveal the level of deprivation

Impoverished Palestinians on the Gaza Strip are being forced to scavenge for food on rubbish dumps to survive as Israel’s economic blockade risks causing irreversible damage, according to international observers.

Figures released last week by the UN Relief and Works Agency reveal that the economic blockade imposed by Israel on Gaza in July last year has had a devastating impact on the local population. Large numbers of Palestinians are unable to afford the high prices of food being smuggled through the Hamas-controlled tunnels to the Strip from Egypt and last week were confronted with the suspension of UN food and cash distribution as a result of the siege.

The figures collected by the UN agency show that 51.8% – an “unprecedentedly high” number of Gaza’s 1.5 million population – are now living below the poverty line. The agency announced last week that it had been forced to stop distributing food rations to the 750,000 people in need and had also suspended cash distributions to 94,000 of the most disadvantaged who were unable to afford the high prices being asked for smuggled food.

“Things have been getting worse and worse,” said Chris Gunness of the agency yesterday. “It is the first time we have been seeing people picking through the rubbish like this looking for things to eat. Things are particularly bad in Gaza City where the population is most dense.

Read moreIsraeli blockade ‘forces Palestinians to search rubbish dumps for food’

Gaza families eat grass as Israel locks border

Before you read The Times article below consider also the following articles:

A human rights crime in Gaza by Ex-President Jimmy Carter.

Carter says Israel has arsenal of 150 nuclear weapons:
Carter also condemned Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip as “one of the greatest human rights crimes now existing on Earth,” according to the Agence France-Presse news agency.
Carter said in reference to the situation of Palestinians in Gaza that, “There is no reason to treat these people this way.”

Gaza: A modern concentration camp run by Israel:
Gaza is being forced to pump 77 tonnes of untreated or partially treated sewage out to sea daily due to the Israeli blockade of the coastal territory. The fear is that some of this is creeping back into drinking water.
“The health of Gaza’s 1.5 million people is at risk,” Mahmoud Daher, from the UN World Health Organisation (WHO) told IPS.
The results revealed that three areas in Gaza and one area in the Rafah governorate (30.8 percent) are polluted with human faeces (Faecal Coliform) and animal faeces (Faecal Streptococcus), and three areas in Gaza city (23.1 percent) are polluted with animal faeces.

Hungry Gazans Resort to Animal Feed as U.N. Blasts Israel:
GAZA CITY, Gaza — Half of Gaza’s bakeries have closed down and the other half have resorted to animal feed to produce bread as Israel’s complete blockade of the coastal territory enters its 19th day.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon alarmed at the escalating humanitarian crisis called incumbent Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert last week and demanded that he lift the blockade.

BBC: Gazans despair over blockade:
“People in Gaza are waiting in lines for almost everything, and that’s if they’re lucky enough to find something to wait for,” says Bassam Nasser, 39.

Israel blocks foreign media from Gaza

UN suspends food distribution in Gaza

Israeli siege leads to soaring anemia in Gaza newborns

Scottish activist films Israeli navy shooting at Gaza fishermen:
A SCOTTISH human rights activist has filmed the Israeli navy firing machine guns at unarmed Palestinian fishing boats in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of the Gaza Strip.

Israel’s secret police pressuring sick Gazans to spy for them, says report
Israel’s secret police are pressuring Palestinians in Gaza to spy on their community in exchange for urgent medical treatment, according to a report released today by an Israeli human rights organisation.

Israel launches deadly airstrike in Gaza + Hamas fires rockets at Israel after 6 killed

U.N. chief condemns Israel after Gaza clash:
GAZA (Reuters) – U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned Israel for using “excessive” force in the Gaza Strip and demanded a halt to its offensive after troops killed 61 people on the bloodiest day for Palestinians since the 1980s.

The New York Times: Making Nuclear Extermination Respectable:
On July 18, 2008 The New York Times published an article by Israeli-Jewish historian, Professor Benny Morris, advocating an Israeli nuclear-genocidal attack on Iran with the likelihood of killing 70 million Iranians – 12 times the number of Jewish victims in the Nazi holocaust:

” Iran ’s leaders would do well to rethink their gamble and suspend their nuclear program. Barring this, the best they could hope for is that Israel ’s conventional air assault will destroy their nuclear facilities. To be sure, this would mean thousands of Iranian casualties and international humiliation. But the alternative is an Iran turned into a nuclear wasteland.”

Eating weeds and herbs was often the only thing that kept people alive in prison camps.

Israel turned Gaza into one big concentration camp. Why is there no help? Look who rules the world and what interests they have, then you know.
________________________________________________________________________

December 14, 2008
Source: The Sunday Times

AS a convoy of blue-and-white United Nations trucks loaded with food waited last night for Israeli permission to enter Gaza, Jindiya Abu Amra and her 12-year-old daughter went scrounging for the wild grass their family now lives on.

“We had one meal today – khobbeizeh,” said Abu Amra, 43, showing the leaves of a plant that grows along the streets of Gaza. “Every day, I wake up and start looking for wood and plastic to burn for fuel and I beg. When I find nothing, we eat this grass.”

Abu Amra and her unemployed husband have seven daughters and a son. Their tiny breeze-block house has had no furniture since they burnt the last cupboard for heat.

“I can’t remember seeing a fruit,” said Rabab, 12, who goes with her mother most mornings to scavenge. She is dressed in a tracksuit top and holed jeans, and her feet are bare.

Conditions for most of the 1.5m Gazans have deteriorated dramatically in the past month, since a truce between Israel and Hamas, the ruling Islamist party, broke down.

Read moreGaza families eat grass as Israel locks border

World Bank’s Wrong Advice Left Silos Empty in Poor Countries


Pedestrians walk past the abandoned San Martin grain silos in San Salvador, on July 22, 2008. Photographer: Alejandra Parra/Bloomberg News

Dec. 10 (Bloomberg) — Inside and out, the rusted towers of El Salvador’s biggest grain silo show how the World Bank helped push developing countries into the global food crisis.

Inside, the silo, which once held thousands of tons of beans and cereals, is now empty. It was abandoned in 1991, after the bank told Salvadoran leaders to privatize grain storage, import staples such as corn and rice, and export crops including cocoa, coffee and palm oil.

Outside, where Rosa Maria Chavez’s food stand is propped against a tower wall, price increases for basic grains this year whittled business down to 16 customers a day from 80.

“It’s a monument to the mess we are in now,” says Chavez, 63.

About 40 million people joined the ranks of the undernourished this year, bringing the estimate of the world’s hungry to 963 million of its 6.8 billion people, the Rome-based United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization said yesterday. The growth didn’t come just from natural causes.

Read moreWorld Bank’s Wrong Advice Left Silos Empty in Poor Countries

Zimbabwe: Dead people are better off

Johannesburg – “Dead people are better off. They don’t need water or sadza (maize porridge). They’re just lying there nicely in their graves.”

Sitting on the stone floor of her bare home in Harare, a Zimbabwean woman poignantly expresses the desperation of millions of Zimbabweans stalked by starvation and disease.

Dinner for this woman, whose name is not given in the 15-minute film on Zimbabwe’s humanitarian crisis screened by Solidarity Peace Trust non-governmental organisation in Johannesburg on Tuesday, is a sachet of juice.

In another scene, a mother holds aloft a wailing baby, its eyes swollen shut, the skin peeling off its stubby legs. The baby is severely malnourished.

The images in the film entitled Death of a Nation, which record the slow strangulation of a population by a government hell-bent on retaining power, were taken between September and November this year.

They show a failed state where women in rural areas pick through withered trees for berries to keep their families alive because they can no longer afford a bag of maize meal.

And families telling of how they spent the day holding up a drip in an overcrowded clinic for a relative infected with cholera only to watch them die for lack of medication.

Over half Zimbabwe’s population of 12 million cannot adequately feed itself, stratospheric inflation means a tub of margarine costs US$9.65 and hundreds are dying of cholera, an easily preventable disease.

Read moreZimbabwe: Dead people are better off

World’s hungry ‘close to one billion’

The food crisis has pushed the world’s number of hungry people to almost 1bn, prompting a “serious setback” to global efforts to reduce mass starvation, the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organisation said on Tuesday.

“The ongoing financial and economic crisis could tip even more people into hunger and poverty,” the FAO added.

The Rome-based organization said that a preliminary estimate showed the number of undernourished rose this year by 40m to about 963m people, after rising 75m in 2007. Before the food crisis, there were about 848m chronically hungry people in 2003-05.

“High food prices are driving millions of people into food insecurity, worsening conditions for many who were already food-insecure, and threatening long-term global food security,” the FAO said in its report The State of Food Insecurity in the World 2008.

Read moreWorld’s hungry ‘close to one billion’

Rising food prices pushing east Africa to disaster

More than 14 million people in the east Africa region require urgent food aid due to drought and spiralling cereal and fuel prices, aid agencies say.

In an emergency appeal launched today, Oxfam warns that millions of people in Ethiopia, Somalia, Uganda, Djibouti and Kenya are fast being pushed “towards severe hunger and destitution”. Earlier this week the UN said it needed £200m to avert a humanitarian disaster.

The hunger crisis is worse than the last regional emergency in 2006, when drought caused 11 million people to need assistance, because of the added impact of the global food price increases. Poor families are struggling to buy staples such as maize and wheat, which have more than doubled in price over the past 12 months.

__________________________________________________________________________________

Sheikh flies Lamborghini 6,500 miles to Britain for oil change

His black-and-gold supercar costs £3,552 to service at an approved dealer – on top of the £20,000 to freight from Qatar to Britain. Source: Sun

___________________________________________________________________________________

“In previous droughts most people on the margins found ways to cope,” said Peter Smerdon, of the World Food Programme. “But the simultaneous increase in food prices this time around means they are cutting down on meals and taking their kids out of school in order to try to get by. More people are falling over the edge.”

Read moreRising food prices pushing east Africa to disaster

We Feed The World

Every day in Vienna the amount of unsold bread sent back to be disposed of is enough to supply Austria’s second-largest city, Graz. Around 350,000 hectares of agricultural land, above all in Latin America, are dedicated to the cultivation of soybeans to feed Austria’s livestock while one quarter of the local population starves.

Every European eats ten kilograms a year of artificially irrigated greenhouse vegetables from southern Spain, with water shortages the result.

In WE FEED THE WORLD, Austrian filmmaker Erwin Wagenhofer traces the origins of the food we eat. His journey takes him to France, Spain, Romania, Switzerland, Brazil and back to Austria. Leading us through the film is an interview with Jean Ziegler, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food.

WE FEED THE WORLD is a film about food and globalisation, fishermen and farmers, long-distance lorry drivers and high-powered corporate executives, the flow of goods and cash flow-a film about scarcity amid plenty. With its unforgettable images, the film provides insight into the production of our food and answers the question what world hunger has to do with us .

Interviewed are not only fishermen, farmers, agronomists, biologists and the UN’s Jean Ziegler, but also the director of production at Pioneer, the world’s largest seed company, as well as Peter Brabeck, Chairman and CEO of Nestlé International, the largest food company in the world.

Source: YouTube