Thursday, September 20, 2007

Development Workers from War-Affected Nations Warn on Hunger

NEW YORK, Sept. 19 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- With wars and armed conflicts dominating the political agenda of the United Nations' 62nd General Assembly, the anti-poverty agency, ActionAid, says that the UN must do more to address the hidden costs of war: increased hunger and poverty. Of the 39 countries facing food crises in mid 2006, 25 were caused by conflict.

"In Northern Uganda, war has been waging for over 20 years. We can't turn bullets into bread, and sadly, bullets are about all we have plenty of," says Paul Ojuman, District Initiative Coordinator at ActionAid Uganda.

"The Conflict in Northern Uganda resulted in farmers having no access to their land. The ability to produce their own food was compromised, and now they are totally dependent on food aid," Mr. Ojuman said.

"When there is war, farmers are less able to tend to their fields and care for their livestock. Produce can't safely go to markets. Populations starve," said Thomas Johnny, Policy Research Manager, ActionAid Sierra Leone.

"Struggles with increased hunger, poverty, and death often continue long after a conflict ends. War in Sierra Leone concluded six years ago, yet one out of five people still go to bed hungry," Mr. Johnny added.

The number of undernourished people in five African countries crippled by conflict over the past 15 years -- Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi, Eritrea, Liberia and Sierra Leone -- tripled from 12 million to 36 million.

"Millions of families are going hungry world wide due to war and conflicts," said Mr. Ojuman. "Such tragedies are man-made and must be prevented at all costs."

Development Workers from War-Affected Nations Warn on Hunger - Press Release