Middle East food crisis escalates;
Staples such as milk and fruit now regarded as luxuries
Amman, Jordan, April 30, 2008
children at greatest risk
—Hundreds of thousands of children from Afghanistan to the Middle East and Eastern Europe are at risk of hunger, increased malnutrition and vulnerability as families are forced to increase spending on food as the global food crisis
reaches new heights.
As the poorest families in the region are being pushed further into poverty, the pressure on resources to fund family health care and children's education are also under threat.
World Vision has been told of an increase in young girls being sold into marriage so their families can make ends meet in these increasingly difficult times.
"Right across the region, more and more children from Kosovo to Afghanistan are hungry every day as this crisis grows," said David Robinson, regional vice president for World Vision in the Middle East and Eastern Europe. "It is essential that we keep the children at the heart of our response as we coordinate to respond globally to this food crisis."
The risk of a serious humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip is growing as rising food prices compound fuel prices, failed crops, and market access, threatening thousands of poor families.
Millions of already vulnerable refugee families across the Middle East, the largest refugee hosting region in the world, now have to regard staples such as milk or fruit as luxuries. This dramatic increase in food prices will continue to have a destabilizing affect in a region where so many young lives are already vulnerable to ongoing conflicts and political turmoil.
In Kosovo, a reliance on heavily subsidized food imports is further crippling the national economy and pushing families and children deeper into poverty.
The World Bank estimates that the recent rise in food prices could push another 100 million people deeper into poverty.
Some 35 million children will be at greater risk of malnutrition. Ten percent of these will be children under 5.
World Vision calls on the international community to:
- Prioritize the prevention of child hunger and malnutrition in its response to the current crisis.
- Provide immediate funding to protect the food security of vulnerable communities and children.
- Coordinate globally to address the structural causes of food insecurity.
World Vision staff in the region are available for interviews. Please contact Casey Calamusa at 206.310.5476 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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