Anti-hunger petition goes to Downing Street

Malnourished children outside hospital in Gao, Mali More than one million children in the Sahel region are at risk of severe malnutrition, charities say

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Petitions from aid charities, signed by 500,000 people, calling for government action to combat global hunger have been handed in to Downing Street.

They want action in regions including Sahel, West Africa, where more than 18 million people are suffering from the impact of drought and high food prices.

They say Britain should use its 2013 G8 presidency to tackle hunger and try to save a million lives a year.

PM David Cameron has convened a global hunger summit in London on Sunday.

The gathering - on the last day of the Olympic Games - will bring together world leaders, business figures, non-government organisations and development campaigners in an effort to generate renewed momentum behind tackling malnutrition in Africa and other parts of the world.

'Next meal'

The Guardian has reported that British 10,000m gold medal winner Mo Farah - who was born in Somalia - is to attend the summit, although Downing Street has refused to confirm this.

The prime minister told ITV's Daybreak programme the world "needed to put its money where its mouth is" to save the lives of children in developing countries.

The UK could be "proud" of its record on overseas aid, he added, but the global attention on London at the moment gave the UK an opportunity to show it "cares about the poorest in the world".

"I wanted to do this during the Olympic Games. We are all thinking about the next gold medal, but there are millions of children around the world who are thinking, 'am I going to get the next meal?"

David Beckham outside Downing Street David Beckham has told Mr Cameron progress on hunger could be a lasting legacy of London 2012

Last week, Save the Children and World Vision warned that more than one million children in the Sahel region were at risk of severe malnutrition.

The Sahel region is an impoverished area that includes Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso, Senegal and Chad.

The charities said the main cause was a lack of protection against shock price rises, and said they wanted more investment to protect against food insecurity.

The deaths of 200,000 children each year could be linked to malnutrition, they added.

At the end of last month, ex-England footballer and Unicef ambassador David Beckham met Mr Cameron at Downing Street to urge the UK to ensure child hunger remains a global priority.

He handed the prime minister a letter, signed by 50 sports and film stars, urging him to "pick up the pace" on the issue when the UK takes over leadership of the G8 group of nations next year.

Unicef's UK director, David Bull, said things could be done immediately such as increasing the advice given to parents and stressing the importance of breastfeeding as a source of vital nutrients.

"We know what the solutions are - some of them are terribly simple," he told the BBC. "In the long term, we need to tackle the poverty and inequality that causes under-nutrition."

He added: "We believe that it is the right time to raise the issue and we are so excited that we have had so much public support."


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  • rate this

    Comment number 152.

    I like the way Ed balls little helpers use one set of ids to cone on here and criticise the lack of aid . And another set of logins to condemn the Syrian aid .
    The most effective solutions to third world hunger are all bitterly opposed either there or in the west .GM crops , Contraception, multinational business.
    Chinese investment in raw materials has raised living standards across Africa .

  • rate this

    Comment number 151.

    Not a penny to feed the millions. They should not have bred what they cannot feed in the bad harvests years.

    We need a new outlook on throwing money about. Better to give a life income to every woman who has no children and accepts permanent sterilisation in return for it. They then won't starve in old age so need no children to look after them. Feeding just encourages them to breed.

  • rate this

    Comment number 150.

    I think that the Catholic Church should be spending £££millions of its own dosh to help alleviate and solve this problem, caused by over-population.

    Afterall, it advocates against contraception, thus, exacerbating, promoting and perpetuating the problem.

  • rate this

    Comment number 149.

    These low yields of corps are entirely down to people insisting on "organic" produce. Space that could produce masses more than it currently does is used instead to produce lower yields purely so it can be labelled organic and sold for more.

    A certain African country flatly refused to accept aid shipments of grain that were GM, even though they were starving.

  • rate this

    Comment number 148.

    How many Billions have the IMF put into these third world country's?
    How much Billions have all the developing country's put into all this?
    How much more can be put into this?
    When is enough, enough?
    50 years on and still nothing has changed!

  • rate this

    Comment number 147.

    The lack of food is not the problem, People having no birth control and far too many children are the problem. Stop sending money. Stop sending food. Either sterilize the menfolk or send boxloads of contraceptives, once they're taught what they are and how to use them.

  • rate this

    Comment number 146.

    Yeah we have them here too.

    They're called pensioners though.

  • rate this

    Comment number 145.

    I'm all for giving aid. But there are plenty of homeless and poor people--who have contributed to Britain's system--paying exhorbitant rents to corrupt landlords. We have disabled & old folk stuggling to get bye. I don't see other countries rushing to our help. We cannot help others till we first help ourselves and how can we do that with corrupt politicians here who don't care--in ALL parties.

  • rate this

    Comment number 144.

    Funny how we keep giving all this money, millions from the government, millions from Comic Relief, and yet the situation never gets any better.

    As long as Africa keeps involving itself in Civil wars, and keeps despot dictators it will always be poor, transitions to democracy such as South Africa's will see prosperity.

  • rate this

    Comment number 143.

    2 Hours ago
    In years to come, we'll likely look back on millions of unnecessary deaths from hunger with the same shudder we now do the slave trade.

    What deaths are "necessary". Why should anyones death be seen as such?

  • rate this

    Comment number 142.

    Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day, give 7 billion men(/women) a fish and the seas will be empty. This world cannot support so many people. We are already overdrawn on our use of natural resources, not allowing nature to replenish will lead to ioncreasing problems. We need to tackle over-population globally.

  • rate this

    Comment number 141.

    Our charities don’t really care about our society, because they support rich people’s tax avoidance and pressurize our government to continue the wrong taxation. We are only cows for them to milk money from. After reading the news, I will never trust any charities again.

  • rate this

    Comment number 140.

    131. "I have no problem giving to charity providing it permantely provides a solution to a problem, not keep throwing good money after bad"

    That'a s pretty big ask. I mean, how quickly do you need to see a return on your investment? We should engage politically with African governments to fix long-term problems; charity can't fix them, but it can provide food and water while we wait.

  • rate this

    Comment number 139.

    The Rule of Nature: If there aren't enough resources to maintain a population, then the population will shrink, naturally, until it fits.....

    ..... unless, of course, someone steps-in, trying to change things which, unfortunately, only prolongs the inevitable.

  • rate this

    Comment number 138.

    Charity starts at home

  • rate this

    Comment number 137.

    It was somewhat insensitive of the BBC Today programme this morning to follow a report on hunger by a 'Thought for Today' item recommending people to fast to gain spiritual merit.
    Perhaps if the Catholic Church didn't oppose contraception there would be less need for involuntary fasting in this world.

  • rate this

    Comment number 136.

    Why bother? The government has no concept of its duty of care to the citizens who employ it, never mind the world as a whole.

    They'd rather give money to brawling Syrians than to people who need it to live.

  • rate this

    Comment number 135.

    16. How was this an "editor's pick"?

    "We should withdraw all aid & sort the UK": if governments can't be trusted to help other countries, why can they be trusted to "sort" their own? "I'm sick of appeals for Africa: they bring it on themselves" - like we do..."until they get rid of their corrupt leaders, nothing will change" - they can't...just like us...

  • rate this

    Comment number 134.

    How exactly should we go about helping other countries when there are people in the UK who are not able to feed their families, we have to be secure before we try help other countries. Otherwise we cripple ourselves further and that is no help to anyone in the long run.

  • rate this

    Comment number 133.

    On Radio 4, we heard of a family that had lost 4 children out of 9. We were told how the village's millett crop that once lasted a year will provide food for only five months now that the population has multiplied.

    Resouces are finite, population growth cannot go on forever.


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