UN, NGO and General News Round-Up

The UN agency in charge of alleviating world hunger will be forced to consider rationing food aid because of rising prices, its executive director said in an interview with the Financial Times (UK). Josette Sheeran said that if World Food Program (WFP) donors did not contribute more money, the agency would have to look at “cutting the food rations or even the number of people reached.” WFP officials hope the cuts can be avoided, but warned that the agency?s budget requirements were rising by several million dollars a week because of climbing food prices. The WFP’s main focus to date has been to provide aid in areas where food was unavailable. But the program now faces having to help countries where food prices are the problem.

The UN refugee agency (UNHCR) and its partners have established a new site in the West Darfur region of Sudan to accommodate up to 6,000 internally displaced people (IDP). A first group of 143 families, or about 500 people, are expected to move in on Feb. 27. The new camp, named Abu Zar II, is located just outside the West Darfur capital of El Geneina and it will provide a haven for Sudanese who have been displaced more than once as well as the newly displaced.

Kenya could face a serious food shortage and subsequent large-scale malnutrition in the coming year if insecurity persists. International Medical Corps (IMC) is concerned that a shortage of maize production during 2008 and long-term displacement could severely affect the nutritional status, general health, and livelihood of the displaced as well as that of the general population. According to the Kenyan Red Cross almost 270,000 displaced are currently living in camps. A similar number is thought to be living with host families.

About 3.8 million people in Nepal face food insecurity in the coming months due to a combination of sharp increases in food prices and strikes in the south, according to the UN World Food Program (WFP) in Nepal, IRIN reports. The international increase in the price of rice, the staple food of Nepal’s 27 million people, is directly affecting local people, according to local rice supplying companies. Countries like Nepal, which are already experiencing food shortages, could be hit even worse, according to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

Rates of multi-drug-resistant tuberculosis ? which takes longer to treat and requires more expensive drugs that have potentially serious side effects ? are at an all-time high, according to a new report by the United Nations World Health Organization (WHO). The study, entitled “Anti-Tuberculosis Drub Resistance in the World,” is the largest ever on the scale of drub resistance and is based on information collected between 2002 and 2006 on 90,000 TB patients in 81 countries.

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