Subject: East Timor's hunger season growing: Oxfam
also East Timor facing food, hunger crisis: NGOs;
Aid Agencies Reveal Lack of Food in East Asia And Pacific
East Timor's hunger season growing: Oxfam
Asia, Pacific countries face severe food shortages: report (AM)
new report shows people in parts of East Timor are now facing up to
five months of the year without enough food to eat.
The survey, by aid agencies including Oxfam and the Christian Children's
Fund, has found food insecurity is becoming a chronic problem in the
East Asia and Pacific Region.
The results show the number of children under the age of five suffering
from chronic malnutrition ranged from 50 to 59 per cent.
Oxfam Australia executive director Andrew Hewett says the cost of rice
is a major problem.
"Rice prices, which are a staple food there, doubled from 2006 to early
on this year, and nearly 50 per cent of all rice is imported," he said.
"Despite efforts from the Government, people are suffering.
"The hunger season has got longer, it has increase from an average of
two months to five months each year in parts of the country."
Mr Hewett says climate change is adding to the problem.
"We are finding that climate change is causing problems for people's
livelihoods and people's food security in that country," he said.
"It was already a pretty desperate situation in East Timor.
"People were used to the idea that for at least a couple of months a
year that they just did not have enough food.
"The problem is that that period has got greater."
Mr Hewett says the solution is two pronged.
"The solution is both short term, getting emergency food aid in, in
appropriate areas and appropriate ways," he said.
"But it is also to rethink our investment in agriculture ... to give it
a greater level of priority.
"It is to recognise that we need to rethink the ways in which we have
done agricultural development.
"That is how we can get a sustainable improvement in the situation."
There are similar troubles in Cambodia and the Solomon Islands where
children are increasingly surviving on just one meal a day.
The World Bank estimates the food price crisis will plunge 100 million
more people into poverty.
East Timor facing food, hunger crisis: NGOs
CANBERRA, Oct 16 (Reuters) - East Timor is facing a food crisis and more
than half the fledgling country's youngest children are now going hungry
as global food prices soar, a new aid report warned on Thursday.
More than 70 percent of households surveyed across East Timor were "food
insecure" and unable to find enough to eat each day for almost half the
year in what was fast becoming a food crisis, a group of international
aid organisations warned.
"They've had what they call the hungry season," Oxfam Australia
Executive Director Andrew Hewett said, adding the lean period in the
poverty-hit nation generally lasted only months.
"That's been prolonged and we're now talking about people not having
enough to eat, going to bed hungry every night, for about five months of
the year," Hewett said.
The survey covered most of East Timor, including the Manatuto, Liquica,
Manufahi, Bobonaro, Oecusse, Covalima and Lautem districts.
The number of children under 5 suffering from chronic malnutrition was
as high as 59 percent in many areas, while in some districts food
insecurity touched 90 percent of households, it found.
"Children are lacking protein, lacking enough food, suffering from
chronic malnutrition. It's about one in two children under the age of
five," Hewett said.
Asia's youngest country has been unable to achieve stability since a
hard-won independence from Indonesia in 2002. As well as ethnic and
regional divisions, youth unemployment in the $320-million economy is
above 60 percent.
Adding to poverty problems, the East Timor army tore apart along
regional lines in 2006, when about 600 soldiers were sacked, triggering
violence that killed 37 people and drove 150,000 from their homes.
Hewett said East Timor was facing a hunger crisis reflected in other
parts of Asia, the Pacific and Africa as global food prices spiralled
beyond the reach of ordinary people, with an extra 100 million people
now being pushed into food security.
In East Timor, rice prices had doubled due to climate change and a
global shortage, hitting thousands despite a government subsidy to blunt
"There is a need for greater support for emergency food programs. There
is also a need to focus on upping our investment in agriculture," Hewett
told Australian radio.
The aid groups, including the Christian Children's Fund, Concern
Worldwide and CARE International, said a new push to unblock global
trade talks was needed to end U.S., European and Japanese food
subsidies, and improve agriculture production.
The global financial crisis was also hitting the world's poor far from
the epicentre of panicked markets, as rich countries turned their
attention inwards and looked at cutting aid.
"Those hidden victims are people living in developing countries. With
any crisis it's the poorest who are hit hardest," he said.
(Editing by Bill Tarrant)
Aid Agencies Reveal Lack of Food in East Asia And
[This is the print version of story
Updated October 16, 2008 12:04:37
All eyes might be on the financial crisis lashing world markets, but for
families living in parts of East Asia and the Pacific, there's a more
immediate problem - getting enough food to survive.
A new report released today by aid agencies including Oxfam shows people
in parts of East Timor are now facing up to five months a year without
enough to eat.
Presenter: Jane Cowan
Speakers: Ego Lemon, East Timorese immigrant; Andrew Hewett, Executive
Director, Oxfam Australia
JANE COWAN: The only crisis Ego Lemos knows is the food crisis.
He's lucky enough to live in Australia but he has family back in East
EGO LEMOS: It's really hard actually because that assess the health and
it's called malnutrition within the community.
JANE COWAN: The East Timorese were already struggling.
But now the so-called "hunger season" has stretched out from two months
ANDREW HEWETT: Despite efforts by the Government, people are suffering.
JANE COWAN: Andrew Hewett is the Executive Director of Oxfam Australia.
A new report released today by his organisation and other international
aid agencies shows that in some parts of East Timor 90 per cent of
families aren't confident they can find enough to eat each day.
Rice is the staple food but half of it is imported rather than grown
So when prices doubled in the last few years, it hit hard.
It's a problem exacerbated by biofuel production, growing demand from
consumers in places like China and India and increasingly erratic
ANDREW HEWETT: We are finding that climate change is causing problems
for people's livelihoods and people's food security in that country. It
was already a pretty desperate situation in East Timor. People were used
to the idea that for at least a couple of months a year that they just
did not have enough food.
The problem is that that period has got greater.
JANE COWAN: There are similar troubles in Cambodia and the Solomon
Islands where children are increasingly surviving on just one meal a
The World Bank estimates the food price crisis will plunge 100-million
more people into poverty.
Oxfam's Andrew Hewett says the solution is two pronged.
ANDREW HEWETT: The solutation is both short term, getting emergency food
aid in, in appropriate areas and appropriate ways but it also to rethink
our investment in agriculture, is to give it a greater level of
priority. It is to recognise that we need to rethink the ways in which
we have done agricultural development.
That is how we can get a sustainable improvement in the situation.
JANE COWAN: He urges the Australian Government to boost immediate
assistance to the region and to lead a renewed push to end subsidies for
US, European and Japanese farmers at the expense of their counterparts
in developing countries.
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