This is the News in Brief from the United Nations.
Forced to fork out more for food in conflict zones: World Food Day
Tuesday 16 October is World Food Day, but in many places where there’s conflict or political instability, food is becoming less and less affordable.
That’s according to the World Food Programme (WFP), which says that in dozens more countries, “persistently” costly ingredients are putting a nutritious meal “beyond the reach of millions”.
In its report on the True Cost of a Plate of Food in 52 developing nations, the UN agency says that by way of comparison, a simple meal of rice, beans or lentils costs about $1.20 to cook in the US; while in war-weary South Sudan, it would be the equivalent of more than two days’ income.
In his message marking the day, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said it was “intolerable” that one in nine people does not have enough to eat.
“About 820 million people still suffer from hunger and most of them are women. Some 155 million children are chronically malnourished and may endure the effects of stunting for their entire lives…Let us commit to a world without hunger, a world in which every person has access to a healthy, nutritious diet.”
In Rome, the head of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Director-General José Graziano da Silva, insisted that zero hunger was possible.
He gave the example of Brazil, Peru and China, saying that they had reduced hunger “significantly in a short period of time”.
In a message to the UN event in the Italian capital, Pope Francis said that the struggle against hunger required “generous financing, the abolition of trade barriers” – and above all, “greater resilience” to climate change, economic crises and warfare.
Children dying ‘every day’ in Yemen: UN agencies
Staying with the theme of food insecurity, we go to Yemen now, where the country is facing the world’s worst hunger crisis and children are dying “every day” from lack of access to food and medical care.
Raising the alert in Geneva, the World Food Programme (WFP) warned that intensifying conflict around the key Red Sea port of Hudaydah has forced more than 570,000 people to flee since June.
If the situation persists, 12 million people could soon need regular food aid to prevent near-famine conditions, up from 8.5 million.
Here’s WFP’s spokesperson Hervé Verhoosel:
The security problem, the economic problem, the depreciation of the money…all that together, that’s an explosion. I mean, that’s …what made the problem today, that’s why we cannot continue in that direction. We will have 12 million people potentially very soon in need of support and if that is the case, we will need the international community to step up even more than today.”
According to UN Children’s Fund UNICEF, the most acute of malnutrition affects 400,000 youngsters in Yemen, while another 1.8 million suffer from the severe form of the disease.
Spokesperson Christophe Boulierac told reporters in Geneva that children die every day from the lack of food and healthcare, and that these deaths were preventable.
Top UN rights official adds voice to call for transparent probe in Saudi journalist’s disappearance
And finally, the UN’s top human rights official Michelle Bachelet has called on Saudi Arabia and Turkey to “reveal everything they know” about the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi.
The Saudi journalist and critic of the Kingdom has not been seen since he visited his country’s consulate in Istanbul on the afternoon of 2 October, Ms Bachelet said in a statement.
The development comes amid reports that details of Mr. Khashoggi’s death may soon surface, indicating that it was an accident.
Here’s spokesperson for the High Commissioner, Rupert Colville, speaking in Geneva:
“The one thing we really know as a solid fact is that Mr Khashoggi went into the consulate and he never came out again, or was never seen coming out again. So, it seems very probable some crime or other has been committed. We all need to know what it was, how it happened and who was responsible and where the evidence leads.”
Mr. Colville noted that “in view of the seriousness of the situation”, the High Commissioner had called for diplomatic immunity to be “waived immediately”, to allow for a “prompt, thorough, effective, impartial and transparent” investigation.
Daniel Johnson, UN News