People's Stories Wellbeing

Conflicts and Climate Change pose major threats to 2030 Hunger Goals
by Action Against Hunger
Oct. 2017
Action Against Hunger urges World Leaders to make Hunger a Political Priority
Projections and analysis in a new study published by the Inter-Agency Regional Analysts Network (IARAN) and the international humanitarian organization Action Against Hunger warn that the global effort to end hunger by 2030 could be in jeopardy without major efforts to break the cycle of hunger and conflict and address the root causes of food crises.
The number of hungry people in the world increased from 777 million in 2015 to 815 million in 2016, according to a report issued in September by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
In early 2017, the United Nations warned that 20 million people face the threat of famine in four countries. In many places in these countries, insecurity prevents aid delivery and food assitance, as is the case in many situations of armed conflict. This rise in world hunger cannot be understood without recognizing—and addressing—the links between conflict, climate, and food insecurity.
“Famine is manmade, and it is never unexpected,” said Andrea Tamburini, Chief Executive of Action Against Hunger. “Despite the lessons of history and despite the incalculable human toll, the number of people suffering from hunger in the world is rising. We know this rise is happening not only because of the surge in conflicts and extreme weather patterns, but also—and above all else—because hunger is not a global political priority.”
The new report from IARAN and Action Against Hunger analyzes relevant data to identify nine key drivers of hunger—with conflict chief among them—and projects how those drivers could steer five possible scenarios by 2030.
“One of the scenarios predicts strong and equitable growth and a trajectory toward a more equitable form of ‘Western-led’ development,” says IARAN Global Analyst Tyler Rundel. “Another trajectory projects growth coming from strong, perhaps tumultuous development of ‘non-Western’ economies and actors.”
Another projection in the IARAN analysis predicts possible slow and fragile growth, or a “business as usual” situation in which, without major changes, hunger continues to affect hundreds of millions of people for decades to come. Still another scenario projects “system shock,” and illustrates the catastrophic outcome if a series of major shocks were to occur in the near future.
Action Against Hunger emphasizes that that there are multiple, major drivers of hunger threatening progress, including: poverty; inequality; conflict and displacement; climate change; inadequate agricultural policies; and poor governance and weak infrastructure.
In recognition of World Food Day on October 16th, Action Against Hunger urges:
National governments and the international community to exert political pressure to end crises, avert famine, and break the vicious circle between hunger and conflict.
International donors and governments from developing countries to increase both their humanitarian and long-term funding and to support small-scale farming for the long term, as well as climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies.
“In order to achieve the ambitious goal of ending hunger by 2030, the international community must exert stronger political will and mobilize more resources,” said Tamburini. “Without a multidimensional approach that focuses on key drivers, hunger will persist.”
* Access the report via the link below:
Promises Don''t Feed Hungry People
Our world produces enough food for every man, woman, and child on the planet, yet 815 million people still lack sufficient access to food to meet their daily needs.
We believe that with sufficient investment, collaborative action, and political commitment—that number could be dramatically reduced. It’s a promise that global governments have already made: two years ago, world leaders pledged to take action to end hunger and malnutrition in all its forms by 2030.
A world free from hunger is possible, between 2000 and 2015, hunger levels in some of the world’s poorest countries fell significantly, by over 20% in some cases. But we have also seen setbacks: according to the latest data from the United Nations, conflicts, displacement, and climate change caused hunger to rise in 2016 threatening the remarkable achievements we have made in the last 20 years.
In 2017, 20 million people in Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, and Yemen face the threat of famine and are struggling to survive.
October 16th marks World Food Day. Action Against Hunger is determined to achieve zero hunger.
Undernutrition is the single greatest threat to child survival. An estimated 155 million children suffer from irreversible physical and cognitive stunting as a result of chronic undernutrition: one in every three children in the world’s least developed countries suffers from this easily preventable condition. One million children die every year as a direct result of severe acute malnutrition. This is not just unacceptable: it is a scandal.
World leaders declared 2016-2025 “The Decade of Nutrition” and have committed to a new global Agenda for Sustainable Development that charts the course for ending hunger, promising to leave no one behind. But promises won’t feed the 815 million people who go to bed hungry every night.
Levels of international aid and domestic financing of nutrition interventions are far below what is required to meet the commitments for Sustainable Development Goal 2, the global goal for achieving zero hunger by 2030. Today, we are at a critical turning point in the fight against hunger: we must move from talk to action.
All of us, along with policy makers, governments, civil society, academics, journalists, business leaders, youth, faith groups, everyday citizens, and communities must move from “business as usual” to real action to stop enormous food crises like those in South Sudan and Nigeria from happening in the first place.
We are the generation that can make hunger history: we face a remarkable opportunity and a profound responsibility.
We must make a choice: are we passive bystanders in the fight to end hunger? Or are we the agents of change who refuse to accept that children are still dying from undernutrition when the world produces enough food for all of us?
Will we stand up for the one million children whose lives could be saved every year with greater investments, policy change, and access to nutritious food, clean water, and health care? What choice will you make? Together, we can build a world free from hunger. For everyone. For good.
* FAO 2017 State of World Food Security (130Page):

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Floods affect over 40 million in Nepal, India and Bangladesh
by Federation of Red Cross, Red Crescent, agencies
Sep. 2017
Estimated 40 million across India, Bangladesh, Nepal affected.
An estimated 40 million people in South Asia are struggling to rebuild their lives after massive floods devastated the region last month.
Entire villages across Bangladesh, India and Nepal remained submerged under water since the floods began in mid-August.
Authorities have described it as the region''s worst flood in 40 years, with a metre of rain falling in some areas in the space of days.
The worst-hit areas include Assam, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh states in northern India, the Terai region in southern Nepal, and Kurigram and Chimari districts in northern Bangladesh.
In India alone, UNICEF estimated 31 million people were affected by the floods, losing their homes, livelihoods, cattle or property.
In Bangladesh, more than 8 million people were affected, including about 3 million children. And in Nepal, the number affected was nearly 2 million people.
At least 1.5 million homes are believed to have been destroyed or damaged, along with thousands of schools, hospitals, roads and bridges.
Of the 1,300 people killed, aid agencies said 30 to 40 per cent were children.
In Nepal alone, at least 160 people are dead and 25 missing. The flimsy nature of many homes made them particularly vulnerable.
"The people are very poor here and houses are made of mud. So when floods came it washed away their houses, and in some places the water came so quickly, with such force, that one village I saw looked like it was hit by a tornado or cyclone," Rowkan Khan from UNICEF''s office in Kathmandu said.
The flooding has displaced more than 460,000 people, impacting nearly half the country’s 75 districts.
Even as the waters slowly recede, the danger of mosquito and waterborne diseases has risen, with children again bearing the brunt of the threat. Health workers fear the worst could yet be to come.
Ray Kancharla, from India''s branch of Save the Children, says: "This year, mosquito breeding is huge and already there have been dengue and malaria and chikungunya virus. "So these risks are huge, especially for children and women."
In India alone, the agency said 17 million children were in urgent need of humanitarian assistance, including basic nutrition support, health care and education.
Tens of thousands of schools were also inundated or damaged, making it impossible for children to continue their education.
Save the Children''s chief executive in India, Thomas Chandy, said it was heartbreaking to hear so many tragic stories of destroyed lives and homes.
"Some communities have been totally wiped out, with not a building left undamaged," he said. "Many older people I met recounted the horror of the floods, which hit them out of the blue. They haven''t seen anything like this in many years."
Farmers too were counting the cost, with much of the affected area rural or farm land. About 2.4 million hectares of cropland was lost to the floods. Many farmers watched cattle and other livestock die or be swept away.
UN agencies, the Red Cross and other NGOs stepped up efforts to respond to the demand for food, medicine, clean water and water-purification tablets.
Mr Kancharla said many of those affected were hoping to be able to return to their homes — what is left of them — within a couple of weeks, as the water level continued to drop. But he said it would be well into next year before they could return to normal life.
"The recovery is something we have seen takes a long time, to collect the debris, and clean up and rebuild their houses," Mr Kancharla said.
"Our guess is it will take a minimum six months to a year that they are able to restore their lives. And restoring their livelihoods will take a long time."
Aug. 2017 (UN News)
United Nations humanitarian agencies are working with the Government and partners in Nepal to bring in clean water, food, shelter and medical aid for some of the 41 million people affected by flooding and landslides in South Asia.
Over a thousand people have been killed, and tens of thousands of homes, schools and hospitals have been destroyed in Bangladesh, India and Nepal.
“There is the possibility that the situation could deteriorate further as rains continue in some flood-affected areas and flood waters move south,” the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) today said in an updated note.
In Bangladesh, nearly 2,000 local medical teams have been deployed, even as one-third of the country is reportedly underwater. Aid workers are concerned about waterborne diseases, such as diarrhoea and malaria.
“Their most urgent concern is to accessing safe water and sanitation facilities,” OCHA said earlier this week, citing national authorities. It also warned of dangers to women and children.
In India, rescue operations are ongoing in many flood-affected areas, with those stranded being rescued by helicopter. Flood relief camps have been established for those displaced by the disaster where they are being provided with food and shelter, OCHA said.
* Latest updates from ReliefWeb:
18 August 2017
A humanitarian crisis is unfolding across large areas in South Asia, with more than 20 million people affected by monsoon floods in Nepal, Bangladesh and India.
“This is fast becoming one of the most serious humanitarian crises this region has seen in many years and urgent action is needed to meet the growing needs of millions of people affected by these devastating floods,” said Martin Faller, Deputy Regional Director for Asia Pacific, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).
“Millions of people across Nepal, Bangladesh and India face severe food shortages and disease caused by polluted flood waters,” Mr Faller said.
Flood levels have already reached record highs in Bangladesh, according to local authorities. Flooding of major rivers such as the Jamuna has surpassed levels set in 1988 – the deadliest floods the country has ever faced.
“More than one third of Bangladesh and Nepal have been flooded and we fear the humanitarian crisis will get worse in the days and weeks ahead,” Mr Faller said.
In Nepal, many areas remain cut off after the most recent destructive floods and landslides, on 11 and 12 August. Villages and communities are stranded without food, water and electricity.
“This tragic flooding in Nepal has claimed at least 128 lives and 33 people are still missing,” said Dev Ratna Dhakhwa, Secretary General, Nepal Red Cross Society.
“More than 500 Nepal Red Cross volunteers are racing aid to people, including tarpaulins for temporary shelter, food and water. Food crops have been wiped out by the floods in Nepal’s major farming and agricultural lands in the south of the country. We fear that this destruction will lead to severe food shortages,” Mr Dhakhwa added.
IFRC has released funds from its Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) to support the response efforts of the Nepal Red Cross. With the full picture of needs still emerging, this support may increase in the coming days.
In Bangladesh, floods are likely to get much worse as swollen rivers from India pour into the low-lying and densely populated areas in the north and centre of the country. Over 3.9 million people have been affected by the rising flood waters.
In India over 11 million people are affected by floods in four states across the north of the country. India’s meteorological department is forecasting more heavy rain for the region in the coming days.
Volunteers from Indian Red Cross and Bangladesh Red Crescent are working non-stop alongside local authorities to help their communities be safe and prepare for worsening floods.
25 Sept. 2017
Hurricane Maria: Puerto Rico’s lack of power and clean water puts hundreds of thousands of children at risk says Save the Children.
Five days after Hurricane Maria caused widespread devastation in Puerto Rico, millions of Americans, including nearly 700,000 children, remain stranded without power, clean water, or fuel. Save the Children’s team is in San Juan, working with partners and local officials to address the most urgent needs for children and their families.
"The situation here in Puerto Rico is dire—nearly the entire island is still without power and clean water, and in these scorching temperatures, children and families desperately need our help," said Casey Harrity, Save the Children’s team leader in Puerto Rico. "Families are also stuck without fuel or phone access to be able to contact anyone, and some neighborhoods are still under water and families continue to be rescued by kayak."
"This is a major disaster and recovery will take months, if not years," Harrity continued. "Families in Puerto Rico need more help, and they need it urgently. We are evaluating the immediate needs for families in shelters, and those who are still stranded." Thousands of people are now in shelters around the island, as many have lost their homes. Save the Children is working on helping children and families in the shelters and eventually when they return home.
Children are the most affected in the wake of emergencies and disasters, and often their needs fall through the cracks. "The immediate priority is to make sure children are safe, that they are with family members or friends and have access to food, water and shelter, including safe, supervised places for children to play," said Carolyn Miles, Save the Children’s President & CEO.
"The next priority is to get children back into school. Returning to their regular routine of going to school each day can have a tremendous, positive impact on children as they recover from this catastrophe."
28 Sept. 2017
What every American needs to know about Puerto Rico’s hurricane disaster. (Vox News)
Early on Wednesday, September 20, Hurricane Maria, a powerful Category 4 hurricane with 150 mph winds, made direct landfall on Puerto Rico, bisecting the entire island and drenching it with a foot of rain. What’s happened since has been catastrophic for Puerto Rico.
There’s still no power on the island, with the exception of generators powering only the highest-priority buildings like hospitals. That means in many places there’s no water to drink or bathe in or to flush toilets. There’s limited food, fuel, and cell service, and it’s taken several days for reporters and rescue workers to reach remote towns and villages.
“Make no mistake — this is a humanitarian disaster involving 3.4 million US citizens,” Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló said.
The initial recovery response from the US federal government has been most inadequate, and President Trump’s lack of action and comments have not inspired confidence.
This is a disaster that deserves more coverage and a swifter response — and both appear to have been impeded by widespread confusion about Puerto Rico’s relationship to the United States and the severity of its current situation.
Water, food, and fuel are scarce on the island. The airports are a mess. Power will be out for months in some places. Photos show whole communities with roofs torn off, second floors of houses ripped apart, water flooding the streets, and people resorting to waiting in long lines for clean water and fuel. In reports, the word “apocalyptic” is used often.
Puerto Rico’s infrastructure is severely crippled. The storm knocked out 80 percent of the island’s power transmission lines, the Associated Press reports. 1.5 million electricity customers are still without power.
Some 44% of the 3.5 million residents living on the island are still without clean drinking water six days after the storm.
The mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico''s capital, told the BBC the island was "in a humanitarian crisis". "Our hospitals have no diesel. And of course no diesel means no life support systems," Carmen Yulin Cruz said.
"People that are dependent on diesel in order to breathe are running out of diesel or their batteries are running out. So they''re really fighting life or death situations."
Gerardo Torres, a doctor in San Juan, told the BBC that "operating rooms are closed due to lack of air conditioning and operating kits cannot be sterilised".
* Relief Web Hurricane Maria:
* Hurricane Irma a category 5 hurricane has brought devastating damage to several parts of the Caribbean. As of 10 September, Irma hit Cuba, causing massive destruction and widespread flooding along its northern coast. Irma upgraded to a category 4 hurricane as it pummeled Florida state in US on 10 September.
People of Turks and Caicos are in need of emergency relief. Livelihoods, housing and infrastructure in Anguilla, Barbuda, the British Virgin Islands, St. Martin/St. Maartin, the US Virgin Islands, and Turks and Caicos are severely affected. Reports of extensive damage to agriculture are coming in from Haiti and Cuba.
There has been wide-spread damage to infrastructure such as power, telecommunications and water services. Many homes have also been severely damaged. Health facilities have also suffered serious damages hampering the delivery of emergency care assistance. It is anticipated that there will be immediate needs across the health, water, sanitation, food security and shelter sectors.
Unicef is calling for the international community to offer assistance to the devastated Caribbean islands following Hurricane Irma. The powerful hurricane tore through the Caribbean islands, killing at least 34 people and flattening entire communities before wreaking destruction on the US state of Florida.
Sandi Lwin, who is leading Unicef’s response in the Caribbean said the islands of Antigua and Barbuda were “totally devastated” and “absolutely flattened”.
About 90% of buildings in Anguilla were damaged, she said, and preliminary feedback from teams in the British Virgin Islands and Turks and Caicos Islands, said the situation was much worse than anticipated.
The Dominican Republic, Cuba, and Haiti were also affected, despite escaping the worst of the storm. Havana was flooded, coastal communities were cut off, and scores of homes destroyed.
Hurricane Irma prompted the evacuation of 6.5 million people from Florida, the largest evacuation in modern US history. Some 200,000 were housed in shelters during the storm, according to federal officials. The hurricane caused record flooding in parts of Florida. Utilities reported some 7.4 million homes and businesses were without electricity in Florida and neighbouring states and said it could take weeks to fully restore service.
But the scope of damage in Florida and neighbouring states paled in comparison with the devastation left by Irma in parts of the Caribbean.
Reliefweb Hurricane Irma:
29 Aug. 2017
Tropical Storm Harvey, the most powerful hurricane to strike Texas in more than 50 years came ashore on Friday near Corpus Christi, 350 kilometres south of Houston.
Some 30,000 residents of the US''s fourth-largest city are expected to be left temporarily homeless as National Weather Service officials predicted the water could rise to 18 metres, in what has been described as an "800-year flood level".
The city of Houston stopped short of ordering a full evacuation due to concerns about people being stranded on city highways consumed by floods.
In scenes evoking the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans in 2005, police and Coast Guard teams have rescued about 2,000 people, plucking many from rooftops by helicopter. Texas Governor Greg Abbott activated all 12,000 members of the state''s National Guard to join local police in the rescue effort.
Update Sept. 2017
Recovery operations are under way across Texas, and in neighbouring Louisiana, although many areas are still battling floodwater.
The devastating hurricane Harvey made landfall in the state a week ago and has been blamed for at least 47 deaths. About 43,000 people are being housed in shelters. More than 1 million were displaced by the hurricane and it damaged nearly 200,000 homes in a path of destruction stretching for more than 480 kilometres.
* 19 Sept. 2017
Mexico earthquake leaves over 300 dead, others trapped in collapsed buildings.
A magnitude 7.1 earthquake has struck central Mexico, killing at least 300 people and toppling buildings in the heavily populated capital where rescuers are searching frantically for survivors under the rubble.
Millions of people ran into the streets, and millions of homes lost electricity when the quake struck around lunchtime.
Mexico City Mayor Miguel Angel Mancera said 44 buildings were severely damaged or destroyed. Several major gas leaks and fires occurred.
The quake hit only hours after many people participated in earthquake drills around the nation on the anniversary of the devastating quake that killed thousands in Mexico City in 1985. Amid the destruction, residents of Mexico City were digging through rubble to save their neighbours.
Mexico City and its surrounding area are home to about 20 million people. The epicentre was 8 kilometres south-east of Atencingo in Puebla at a depth of 51 kilometres, the US Geological Survey said.
Many people were also still shaken from the recent quake on September 7, a powerful magnitude-8.1 that killed at least 98 people.
Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto said late on Tuesday more than 20 children and two adults had been found dead at the school, Colegio Enrique Rebsamen, in the neighborhood of Coapa. Another 30 children and 12 adults were missing, he said.
Emergency personnel and equipment were being deployed across affected areas so that "throughout the night we can continue aiding the population and eventually find people beneath the rubble," Peña Nieto said on Tuesday evening.
Mexican media showed images of desperate locals forming human chains in search of people still trapped in collapsed buildings after nightfall. With power out in much of the city, the work was carried out in the dark or with flashlights and generators.
In Obrera, a central neighborhood in Mexico City, people applauded when rescuers managed to retrieve four people alive, with cheers of "si se puede," or "yes we can," ringing out.
Volunteers continued arriving throughout the night, following calls from the civil protection agency, the Red Cross and firefighters.
Juchitan, Mexico, Sept 11 (Reuters)
Mexico rushes aid to millions after earthquake; most powerful to hit in over eight decades.
A powerful earthquake that struck Mexico last week has left some 2.5 million people in need of aid and killed 96 others, authorities said, as officials rushed to get food and water to stricken communities in the poor south.
Oaxaca state governor Alejandro Murat told local television the death toll in his state had risen to 76. He said preliminary reports showed that at least 12,000 homes were damaged, and warned the number was likely to rise.
Murat said 1 million people in Oaxaca needed food, water, electricity and help rebuilding damaged homes, while in neighboring Chiapas state, which was closest to the epicenter of the tremor, 1.5 million people were affected, according to officials. "We are united in facing this humanitarian crisis," Murat said.
The 8.1-magnitude quake off the coast of Chiapas rattled Mexico City and sowed destruction across the narrowest portion of Mexico on the isthmus of Tehuantepec.
Mexico''s government on Monday withdrew an offer to help victims of Hurricane Harvey in Texas after the quake stretched the resources of its emergency services. The government has been coping with heavy rains and the impact from Hurricane Katia on the Gulf state of Veracruz.
Sixteen people were reported killed in Chiapas state and four others in neighboring Tabasco from the quake. Many of the fatalities in Oaxaca were in the town of Juchitan, where more than 5,000 homes were destroyed.
Some trucks with government aid delivered bags of simple rations, mostly water and canned food on Sunday, but many residents complained about the slow pace of assistance.
Margarita Lopez, a 56-year-old domestic worker, lined up for help in one especially hard-hit neighborhood of Juchitan, where nearly every house was severely damaged in the quake.
"Almost nothing has arrived from the government, and we don''t know what else we can do," Lopez said.
The quake was the most powerful to hit Mexico in over eight decades and was stronger than a 1985 temblor that killed thousands in Mexico City. However, its greater depth and distance kept the capital from being more serious damaged. Mexico''s national seismological institute said more than 1,000 aftershocks rattled the area.
* ReliefWeb Mexico Earthquake:

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