Category Archives: Survival

Over One Billion Starving People – Who Are the Culprits?

U.N. warns of catastrophe as hungry people top one billion

hunger

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 G8 development ministers not to cut back on aid, Josette Sheeran said the world faced a human catastrophe as 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.

“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 Organization 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 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.

She said despite a decline in most food prices from record peaks last year, they remained high in developing countries, while global food aid was at a 20-year low.

The financial crisis has made things worse, and in terms of staple food, people in poorer countries today can only afford about a third of what they could afford three years ago. Full Story

* * *

HungerSite.com

HungerSite.com

* * *

Experts: Obama biofuel policy boosts world hunger

The Obama administration’s policy of producing ethanol as a renewable fuel substitute for gasoline will add to the number of people in Third World countries who are chronically hungry, according to energy experts.

The administration’s mandates for the use of ethanol are “immoral,” asserts Robert Bryce, managing editor of the monthly industry magazine Energy Tribune.

“We are burning food to make motor fuel at a time when there’s a growing global shortage of food and no shortage of motor fuel,” Bryce told WND.

“The corn ethanol scam is not an energy program,” he continued. “It is a massive farm subsidy program masquerading as an energy program.”

The U.S. Department of Energy did not respond to a WND request for comment on this story.

A controversial report released earlier this month by the Congressional Budget Office, or CBO, said the increasing demand for corn to produce ethanol contributed between 10 to 15 percent of the overall 5.1 percent increase in the price of food from April 2007 to April 2008, as measured by the Consumer Price Index. Full Story

* * *

How the World Bank, IMF and WTO destroyed African agriculture

Biofuel production is certainly one of the culprits in the current global food crisis. But while the diversion of corn from food to biofuel feedstock has been a factor in food prices shooting up, the more primordial problem has been the conversion of economies that are largely food-self-sufficient into chronic food importers. Here the World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the World Trade Organization (WTO) figure as much more important villains.

Whether in Latin America, Asia, or Africa, the story has been the same: the destabilization of peasant producers by a one-two punch of IMF-World Bank structural adjustment programs that gutted government investment in the countryside followed by the massive influx of subsidized U.S. and European Union agricultural imports after the WTO’s Agreement on Agriculture pried open markets. .

African agriculture is a case study of how doctrinaire economics serving corporate interests can destroy a whole continent’s productive base. Full Story

Message for Obama: Take Troops Out of Afghanistan

Afghan president demands an end to air raids on Taliban amid claims of 130 civilian deaths
US accused of using white phosphorous in raids

Afghan president Hamid Karzai has called for an end to air raids in his country after scores of civilians were killed in the latest attack on the Taliban.

Karzai, who went on U.S. television to make the call has put the death toll at up to 130 people.

If his figure is confirmed, it would be the biggest such case of Western forces killing civilians since they invaded in 2001.

His spokesman said the Afghan leader was ‘very serious’ about his demand.

Afghans are furious about the bombing of two villages in Western Farah province during a drawn-out battle last week, when homes full of civilians were hit.

…Karzai’s warning comes after the U.S. was accused of using white phosphorus bombs during the raids.

Doctors say they found horrific burns on victims of the slaughter a week ago.

They believe they could have been caused by the chemical, which bursts into fierce fire on contact with the air and can stick to flesh and burn deep into it.

Full Story

Air Raid Victim Tells Obama to Leave Afghanistan at Once

Starving Afghan Family Displaced by US Airstrike

Afghan Children Left to Die After US Bombings

Afghan Refugee Describes Horror of US Bombings

See:
Of Poppies and War
Ugly truth about foreign aid in Afghanistan

Homeless Shut Out of Underworld Cave/Home

Homeless “Cave” Uncovered In Los Angeles

‘The Impoverishment of Many to Satisfy the Greed of a Few’

Amnesty International Report 2009

IT’S NOT JUST THE ECONOMY, IT’S A HUMAN RIGHTS CRISIS

In September 2008 I was in New York to attend the UN high-level meeting on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the internationally agreed targets to reduce poverty by 2015. Delegate after delegate talked about the need for more funds to eradicate hunger, to cut preventable deaths of infants and pregnant women, to provide clean water and sanitation, to educate girls. The life and dignity of billions of people were at stake, but there was only limited will to back up the talk with money. As I left the UN building I could see the ticker tapes running a very different story coming from another part of Manhattan: the crash of one of the largest investment banks on Wall Street. It was a telling sign of where world attention and resources were really focused. Rich and powerful governments were suddenly able to find many more times the sums that could not be found to stem poverty. They poured them with abundance into failing banks and stimulus packages for economies that had been allowed to run amok for years and were now running aground.

By the end of 2008, it was clear that our two-tier world of deprivation and gluttony – the impoverishment of many to satisfy the greed of a few – was collapsing into a deep hole.

As with the case of climate change, so too with global economic recession: the rich are responsible for most of the damaging action, but it is the poor who suffer the worst consequences. While no one is being spared the sharp bite of the recession, the woes of the rich countries are nothing compared with the disasters unfolding in poorer ones. From migrant workers in China to miners in Katanga in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), people desperately trying to drag themselves out of poverty are feeling the brunt sharply. The World Bank has predicted 53 million more people will be thrown into poverty this year, on top of the 150 million hit by the food crisis last year, wiping out the gains of the last decade. International Labour Organization figures suggest that between 18 and 51 million people could lose their jobs. Skyrocketing food prices are leading to more hunger and disease, forced evictions and foreclosures to more homelessness and destitution.

“The world needs a different kind of leadership, a different kind of politics as well as economics – something that works for all and not just for a favoured few.”

While it is too early to predict the full impact on human rights of the profligacy of recent years, it is clear that the human rights costs and consequences of the economic crisis will cast long shadows. It is also clear that not only have governments abdicated economic and financial regulation to market forces, they have failed abysmally to protect human rights, lives and livelihoods.

Billions of people are suffering from insecurity, injustice and indignity. This is a human rights crisis. Full Story

Sacramento’s Tent City Residents to be Evicted

After Oprah brought national attention to the tent city in Sacramento, California, Governor Schwarzenegger paid them a visit. The occupants of tent city were excited, thinking that Schwarzenegger’s visit means they are now going to be taken care of, but are they simply being evicted with no future homestead in place? Is the offer of a free dumpster a way to clean the area up before they get ousted?

Schwarzenegger Visits Sacramento’s ‘Tent City’

California “tent city” for homeless to be closed

The mayor of California’s state capital unveiled plans on Thursday to shut down a sprawling “tent city” of the homeless that has drawn worldwide media attention as a symbol of U.S. economic decline.

Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson promised to first make alternative shelter space available for the estimated 150 men and women who inhabit the squalid encampment near the American River, at the edge of the city’s downtown.

Johnson, who toured the area with California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger a day earlier, said he hoped to have the ramshackle settlement cleared of tents and debris in the next two to three weeks.

“We want to move as quickly as we can,” he told a news conference, insisting the city was determined to treat the tent dwellers with compassion.

“They are people out there. We have to do whatever we can do,” he said. “We as a city are not going to shy away from it. We’re going to tackle it head-on.”

Advocates for the homeless applauded the mayor’s action. Municipal authorities in Sacramento have been debating the fate of the tent city for weeks.

Sacramento has one of the highest mortgage foreclosure rates in the United States, and the homeless total in the city and surrounding county is estimated to have jumped nearly 10 percent last year to nearly 2,700. About half are believed to be living outdoors, according to a local survey.

The tent city site, near an almond-processing plant beside a railroad freight line, made global headlines after it was featured last month on “The Oprah Winfrey Show.” Full Story

Will the World ‘Ditch the Dollar’?

U.N. panel says world should ditch dollar

dollar-toilet-paper

A U.N. panel will next week recommend that the world ditch the dollar as its reserve currency in favor of a shared basket of currencies, a member of the panel said on Wednesday, adding to pressure on the dollar.

Currency specialist Avinash Persaud, a member of the panel of experts, told a Reuters Funds Summit in Luxembourg that the proposal was to create something like the old Ecu, or European currency unit, that was a hard-traded, weighted basket.

Persaud, chairman of consultants Intelligence Capital and a former currency chief at JPMorgan, said the recommendation would be one of a number delivered to the United Nations on March 25 by the U.N. Commission of Experts on International Financial Reform.

“It is a good moment to move to a shared reserve currency,” he said. Full Story

U.N. Panel Says World Should Ditch Dollar

America’s Homeless Children

1 in 50 American children experiences homelessness

mother_and_baby_by_johnmccabe

One of every 50 American children experiences homelessness, according to a new report that says most states have inadequate plans to address the worsening and often-overlooked problem.

The report being released Tuesday by the National Center on Family Homelessness gives Connecticut the best ranking. Texas is at the bottom.
“These kids are the innocent victims, yet it seems somehow or other they get left out,” said the center’s president, Dr. Ellen Bassuk. “Why are they America’s outcasts?”

The report analyzes data from 2005-2006. It estimates that 1.5 million children experienced homelessness at least once that year, and says the problem is surely worse now because of the foreclosures and job losses of the deepening recession.

“If we could freeze-frame it now, it would be bad enough,” said Democratic Sen. Robert Casey of Pennsylvania, who wrote a foreward to the report. “By end of this year, it will be that much worse.”

The report’s overall state rankings reflect performance in four areas: child homelessness per capita, child well-being, risk for child homelessness, and state policy and planning.

The top five states were Connecticut, New Hampshire, Hawaii, Rhode Island and North Dakota. At the bottom were Texas, Georgia, Arkansas, New Mexico and Louisiana. Full Story

Snapshot of Child Homelessness

Forty-two percent (approximately 650,000 children) of homeless children are under the age of 6 years, compared to just 34% of all American children.

See:

our american society’s shameless crime

Homeless American