Saturday, June 13, 2009

UN warns of catastrophe as hungry people top 1 billion

High food prices have pushed another 105 million people into hunger in the first half of 2009, the head of the U.N. World Food Programme said on Friday, raising the total number of hungry people to over 1 billion.

Urging rich nations at a meeting of the Group of Eight's development ministers not cut back on aid, Josette Sheeran told Reuters the world faced a "human catastrophe" as more and more people struggle to eat a decent meal.

"This year we are clocking in on average four million new hungry people a week, urgently hungry," Sheeran told Reuters.

"Already for the first six months of this year, 105 million people have been added," she said, citing figures to be released by the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organisation next week that will raise the total number of undernourished people to over 1 billion.

In 2008, FAO said the world's hungry numbered 963 million.

The WFP needs $6.4 billion this year for food aid, but donors' contributions have fallen way behind that level -- it had around $1.5 billion at the end of last week.

The agency says it has had to cut food aid rations and shut down some operations in eastern Africa and North Korea because of the credit crunch.

"I know it seems a big figure, but if you compare it with the global stimulus package, it means that for less than 1 percent of that we could help meet the urgent human crisis that is unfolding, and that is just as essential to the stability of the world," Sheeran said.

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1 comment:

  1. the UN is nothing but a group of bums looking for a hand out. The poorer nations should get off the behinds and work to build their nations. Get leadership who care about their countries instead of lining their pockets. why are they always blaming others for their lack of determination to have a better life. The rich nations already give more then their share through governments and charity. How much money can you give if the populations who get it dont use it wisely. Money is not the issue, corruption and greed are, and lack of will by the masses to rise up and demand better leaders is the issue. How long can countries who treat their populations so poorly get away with their inhumanity.