Tag Archives: Asia

Nepal: CRS prepares response to massive earthquake

A massive earthquake struck Nepal and parts of India today. Early reports show hundreds of deaths, thousands of injuries and severe damage to buildings, homes and transportation routes.

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WFP feeds typhoon victims in the Philippines

The UN World Food Programme (WFP) is distributing food in the Philippines after Typhoon Hagupit. Around 300,000 storm victims received high-energy biscuits today in 17 different towns in Eastern Samar.

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Food being rushed to Typhoon Hagupit survivors

The Philippines government is rushing food to victims of Typhoon Hagupit (Ruby). The storm has weakened as it moves over the Philippines, but has left a trail of destruction.

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Typhoon Hagupit: an update on damage to agriculture

Typhoon Hagupit (Ruby) is still roaring through the Philippines with heavy rain and high winds. Over one million people have been forced away from their homes.

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Typhoon Hagupit: food aid distributions begin

The government of the Philippines is distributing food aid to victims of Typhoon Hagupit (Ruby). The storm is packing strong winds and heavy rains, which will continue through Wednesday.

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Typhoon Hagupit: Catholic Relief Services starts relief fund

Typhoon Hagupit (Ruby) has arrived in the Philippines, bringing heavy rains and high winds. Catholic Relief Services (CRS ) is taking action.

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Emergency levels of malnutrition in Philippines

The United Nations is reporting alarming malnutrition rates among Filipinos displaced by conflict in Zamboanga. A survey found that emergency levels of malnutrition were found among children 6 to 59 months of age.

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Philippines: a time to mourn, a time to rebuild

It’s been one year since Typhoon Haiyan devastated the Philippines. Thousands perished as high winds and massive rains leveled Leyte, Samar provinces and other areas. Food and water shortages quickly followed after the storm hit.

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We must not forget Afghanistan

As winter approaches in Afghanistan, there is alarming news about hunger. The UN World Food Programme (WFP), facing low funding, says its been forced to cut food aid for hungry Afghans.

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Afghanistan Hunger Crisis Deepens, Donors Not Responding

Fields of Dust: This should be a wheat field, but nothing has been harvested from here this year. The poorest farmers don’t have any irrigation systems for their fields and rely entirely on rain – which came late and sparse in the winter of 2010/2011. In the 14 provinces of Afghanistan affected by the drought, farmers have lost an average of 80 percent of the rain-fed harvest. (WFP/Silke Buhr)

The hunger crisis is dangerously escalating in Afghanistan. Drought has struck 14 provinces putting over two million people at risk of severe hunger and malnutrition. The response of international donors has been poor despite warnings being issued by aid agencies. Only 7% of the UN drought appeal has been funded to this point.

Earlier this fall Oxfam warned that in the 14 drought-affected provinces, “Many people in these areas were already suffering from chronic hunger. Nearly three quarters of the people living in the affected areas told relief agencies in August that they would run out of food in less than two months.”

Today a joint statement from Oxfam and other aid agencies said the drought and food shortages are taking their toll in communities, “from the closure of schools, forced migration in order to find food and work and already vulnerable families forced deeper into debt in order to get through the winter.”

Manohar Shenoy, the Afghanistan country director for Oxfam says, “Time was already running short. With snow falling in the highlands, the situation for many people has now become critical.”

Many Afghan children had already lost their school feeding ration earlier this year when low funding for the UN World Food Programme forced cutbacks.

Shenoy says, “To survive, already vulnerable people are pushing themselves and their families to the extreme: sliding even deeper into debt and selling all rather than just some of their livestock. Meanwhile the chronic child labour problems in Afghanistan are being exacerbated, as younger children are being forced to work more, for less money. In the worst cases, destitute families are forced to marry off young girls and sell teenage sons to agents who then send them to work in cities. This not only causes anguish, but reverses important gains that Afghan society has made.”

Funding for the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), the lead agency in fighting hunger, has been low all year. WFP depends entirely on voluntary donations from the international community.

Silke Buhr of WFP says, “What is really worrying is the fact that for 2012 alone, we will need about US$390 million of which we have so far received nothing. Given that it takes between three and six months from the moment of pledge until beneficiaries actually receive the food, we will almost certainly have pipeline breaks…in early 2012.”

Afghanistan is looking at not only a severe hunger winter but suffering through 2012 and even beyond. Two things have to happen. One is to fund current relief operations to gain control of the hunger situation facing the country. This interim aid needs to be followed by a comprehensive plan to build resiliency among Afghan communities so droughts do not take such a toll.

It’s critical to note that even before the drought took hold, Afghanistan was already facing a hunger crisis with over seven million people listed as “food insecure” and many others on the brink. Poverty and malnutrition rates were already high.

The drought has sunk an already hungry and malnourished population deeper into the pit of suffering. Of all the threats facing Afghanistan, it is hunger which has become the most powerful. Hunger, if left unchecked, will crush hopes for peace for the war-devastated country.

Farhana Faruqi Stocker, the managing director of Afghanaid, says, “The international community, the Afghan authorities and development organizations need to assess why millions of Afghans remain vulnerable to hunger and find long term and sustainable solutions to solve this problem.”

Article first published as Afghanistan Hunger Crisis Deepens, Donors Not Responding on Blogcritics.

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