Secretary Clinton praises $1 billion hunger pledge by InterAction members

(New York) September 27, 2012 — In a massive attempt to tackle global hunger, leading U.S.-based international NGOs will spend more than $1 billion in private funds over the next three years on agriculture, food and nutrition programs, announced  U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and NGO alliance InterAction on Thursday.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (State Dept. photo)

“InterAction’s members are at the forefront of the global fight against hunger and poor nutrition.  They work alongside local communities to help people become more self-sufficient. Their efforts complement U.S. government programs, such as Feed the Future,” said Samuel A. Worthington, president and CEO of InterAction.

Worthington was speaking on Thursday at an event held on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, where Clinton praised the work of civil society organizations, including members of InterAction.

Clinton said: “Today, I am pleased to announce a new commitment by civil society groups. InterAction, an alliance of 198 U.S.-based organizations—and Sam Worthington, its president, is here today—is pledging more than $1 billion of private, non-governmental funds over the next three years to improve food security and nutrition worldwide.

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Pre-school nutrition program aids Haitian town

Jesuit Refugee Service is seeking to provide a head start to students in Fond Parisien, Haiti, a small town near the border with the Dominican Republic.

While bolstering the ability of children to succeed in future educational pursuits, the early childhood education program also acts as a protection mechanism for these young Haitians.

For more information about our programs in Haiti, please visit our website jrsusa.org or bit.ly/n4updB

Mounting hunger in Chad

Mother and child.

Mother and child in Goz Beida, Chad. (Peter Balleis, S.J. - Jesuit Refugee Service)

(UNITED NATIONS) September 16, 2010 – Although there are signs of improvement in Niger, which is in the midst of a severe food crisis, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) warned that child malnutrition rates are alarmingly high in neighboring Chad.

“We’ve seen the positive impact of timely, well-coordinated food and nutrition assistance delivered in partnership with the Government in Niger,” where almost half of the 15-million strong population are hungry, said WFP Executive Director Josette Sheeran.

But in Chad, which experienced a long and crippling lean season, “children are weak and need to continue receiving food and nutritional support,” she stressed.

Weak and erratic rainfall across the eastern Sahel destroyed much of last year’s harvest, also drying up watering holes for cattle.

To respond to the situation, WFP rolled out emergency food assistance operations in Niger and Chad to meet children’s nutritional needs and to keep families fed through the lean season, when food is in short supply and prices are on the upswing.

Manuel Aranda da Silva, the agency’s Emergency Coordinator for the Eastern Sahel, said that in some parts of Niger, prices are starting to fall in local markets and malnutrition rates among the very young are stabilizing.

Mr. Aranda da Silva, who has just wrapped up a fact-finding mission to Niger and Chad, said that hunger rates remain high among Chadian children.

Global acute malnutrition rates in Chad for children under the age of two are as high as 26 per cent in places, far exceeding the 15 per cent emergency threshold.

That figure is nearly four percent above the international definition for an emergency situation. Read the rest of this entry »

New program aims to stimulate agriculture in Haiti

Haiti’s human capital will play a crucial role in the country’s recovery following January’s catastrophic earthquake through food-for-work projects to stimulate the agricultural sector, as part of a new plan unveiled by the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) Tuesday.

Working in concert with donors and the Haitian Government, WFP is seeking to procure food locally and is also pre-positioning food, trucks and other supplies before the start of the hurricane season for the strategy, which is kicking off as the agency’s emergency response phase is winding down.

Schoolchildren will be fed a daily, nutritious meal under the new scheme, while pregnant and nursing women, malnourished children under the age of five, orphans and hospital patients will also receive food supplies.

More than 200,000 people were killed in the 12 January earthquake, which measured 7.0 on the Richter scale.

Since the disaster, WFP has reached nearly 3.5 million people with rice, flour, beans, oil and other supplies, thanks to contributions of $260 million from donors. Read the rest of this entry »

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Haiti needs immediate global support to grow food

United Nations agencies voiced alarm today at the lack of global support for Haiti’s immediate agricultural needs, such as seed and fertilizers to ensure food from the next planting season, while stressing that disaster mitigation techniques must figure fully in the country’s reconstruction from last month’s devastating earthquake.

“At a time when Haiti is facing a major food crisis we are alarmed at the lack of support to the agricultural component of the Flash Appeal,” UN Food and Agriculture Organization Director-General Jacques Diouf told a high-level meeting in Rome to coordinate UN efforts for the medium- and long-term recovery of the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.

The $575-million UN appeal launched shortly after the 12 January quake, which killed some 200,000 people, injured many others and left 2 million in need of aid, sought $23 million for immediate agricultural needs. “But only 8 per cent of this sum has so far been funded,” Mr. Diouf said. “The economic and social reconstruction of Haiti requires a revival of food production and massive investment in rural areas.

“The immediate priority is support for the farm season that begins in March and accounts for more than 60 per cent of the country’s food production,” he added, noting that FAO has already started to distribute seeds, fertilizer and tools to enable farmers to plant for the next harvest. Read the rest of this entry »

UN sends food aid to thousands displaced in Dem. Rep. of Congo

The United Nations is rushing food to thousands of displaced Congolese in northwest Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), where tribal clashes have driven 130,000 people from their homes.

“Because of ongoing clashes in the area where these people live, it has been difficult to get food assistance to those who need it most,” UN World Food Program (WFP) Country Director Abdou Dieng said, noting that the food distributions would be widened if security conditions improved.

Convoys carrying 50 metric tons of food escorted by peacekeepers from the UN mission in DRC (MONUC) left Gemena in Equateur Province yesterday for the two distribution sites in Bozene and Boyazala, where more than 6,000 displaced people will receive month-long rations of maize, beans, vegetable oil and salt, to be distributed by AVEP, a Congolese non-governmental organization (NGO).
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Hunger still severe in Haiti

Amy Bracken of Inter Press Service reports from Port-au-Prince in Haiti that the island nation still faces a severe hunger crisis one year after food riots broke out.

Children are dying of malnutrition, and the nation’s agriculture, upon which most Haitians depend for their livelihoods and subsistence, has only partly recovered from the devastating storms that pummeled the country last fall.

Read the whole story here.

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