- Obama military downsizing leaves U.S. too weak to counter global threats, panel finds
- Sen. Tom Coburn vows to slow down budget-busting bills ahead of recess
- Obama fantasizes about more executive power, signs new order on federal contractors
- Clintons call Klein, Halper, Kessler ‘a Hat Trick of despicable actors’: report
- Boehner accuses Obama of ‘legacy of lawlessness’
- Pro-marijuana group claims responsibility for Brooklyn Bridge flag swap
- Young adults shun Obamacare mostly due to cost: survey
- Stabbing attack on transgender girl, 15, was ‘bias motivated,’ police say
- LGBT adults still lean overwhelmingly toward Democratic Party
- Lawmakers rattled by Syria genocide horrors, call on Obama to act
U.N. fears food price ‘crisis’ will worsen
Question of the Day
NEW YORK — Hunger caused by high food prices is likely to get worse before it eases, senior U.N. officials warned yesterday.
“The global rise in food prices … is not a temporary blip in prices caused by a crop failure here or there,” Undersecretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs John Holmes told reporters.
“The factors include population growth, changing dietary patterns, prosperity in countries like China and India, [diverting crops for] fuel and lower [food] reserves,” Mr. Holmes said.
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon struck a similar chord, saying in a speech, “We need not only short-term emergency measures to meet urgent critical needs and avert starvation in many regions across the world, but also a significant increase in long-term productivity in food grain production.”
Speaking immediately after vicious riots in Haiti, Egypt, Indonesia, Cameroon, the Philippines, Burkina Faso and other poor nations where the prices of rice and other staples have soared, Mr. Holmes made it clear that the wealthier countries must increase their contributions or risk more widespread hunger, malnutrition and death.
“I would call this a global food-price crisis,” Mr. Holmes told reporters. “The solution has to be in increasing food production in the world. That’s the only solution there can be.”
That goal is distant, though, and the $3-billion-a-year World Food Program (WFP) last month issued an emergency appeal for $500 million just to continue its existing programs in 78 countries.
World Bank President Robert B. Zoellick last weekend urged richer nations to supplement the WFP budget after economic ministers warned about the risk of instability in their regions.
“We have to put our money where our mouth is now, so that we can put food into hungry mouths,” Mr. Zoellick said. “It is as stark as that.”
Any extra funding would do nothing to help those who will only now find themselves unable to afford food as demand far outstrips supply.
An estimated 78 million people already are on WFP food rations, and no U.N. relief agency will estimate how many more might be added to the rolls as the crisis continues. In Afghanistan alone, officials in January appealed for $80 million to offset rising wheat prices.
Biofuel is one of the main reasons for rising demand, analysts say, noting that the amount of corn needed to make a few tanks of fuel could feed a person for a year. The United States is one of the largest consumers of corn for biofuel.
White House spokeswoman Dana Perino yesterday acknowledged that the United States is taking much of the available crop.
“We recognize that moving from an oil-based economy to one that’s based more on renewable or alternative fuels is going to be one that requires a transition period,” she said.
Mr. Holmes stressed that short-term solutions are important as prices spike, but insisted that long-term solutions are more important.
Both parties recognize the Democrats' scam
- Inside the Ring: Israel surprised by Hamas tunnel network
- CRUZ: A tale of two hospitals: One in Israel, one in Gaza
- Chicken pox outbreak puts illegal immigrant facility on lockdown
- Report: 40% of weapons sent to Afghanistan are unaccounted for
- Israel surprised by Hamas tunnel network
- Sarah Palin's online channel hits snag as Stephen Colbert buys similar URL
- 3 African leaders cancel trip to U.S. over Ebola outbreak; Obama still plans summit
- Feds accept boredom, lack of work as excuses for surfing porn on clock
- Catholic League slams Obama: 'Do Christian lives mean so little to you?'
- Obama military strategy too weak for future security, panel reports
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world