Food Crisis Sparks Global Riots: World Leaders Struggle to Respond

According to the World Bank, global food prices have increased by 75% since 2005 and 45% in the last nine months. In the past two months, the cost of rice, a staple food for over half of the world’s population, rose by 75%. The price of wheat has risen 120% during the past year.

Deadly protests and rioting over these increasing costs are occurring throughout Africa and Asia.

In Haiti, where 80% of the population survives on less than $2 a day, mass demonstrations turned deadly. Rioting in Les Cayes killed 4 and wounded at least 20. A few days later Haitians attempted to storm the presidential palace in Port-au- Prince shouting “We are hungry!”

In Egypt, where over 33% of the population live on around $2 a day, police took over a textiles plant to prevent a widespread strike over rising food costs. The military has been enlisted to bake bread to curb the growing anger.

In Morocco, 60 demonstrators allegedly died during riots in January.

In normally peaceful Senegal, riot police resorted to tear gas, violence, and intimidation to quell demonstrations last month.

In Thailand, supermarkets closely regulate the amount of rice each shopper may purchase.

The growing violence and desperation prompted UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to call upon the international community “to take urgent and concerted action in order to avoid the larger political and security implications of this growing crisis.”

The UN World Food Programme (WFP) projects that it needs an additional $755 million to continue its existing operations.

President Bush responded by releasing $200 million in emergency aid from the Bill Emerson Humanitarian Trust to help those nations in crisis.

At the same time, French President Sarkozy pledged to double France’s contribution to food aid.

The World Bank has said that it will double it’s agricultural lending within Africa—from $400 million to $800 million.

Time is running out—especially for small children.

The New York Times recounts a heart-wrenching spectacle in Haiti, where Placide Simone, a 29-year-old mother of five stopped a passing stranger in her desperation to save her starving children. Motioning to them she said, “Take one. You pick. Just feed them.”

Worldwide, five million children under five die each year as a result of malnutrition. The current food crisis can only increase that number.

You can help!

Click to Give on the hunger site
—they send 100% ad money generated through users’ “clicks” to charity food programs. Turn your aimless browsing time into ‘clicks to give’.

Support the UN’s World Food Program—the “frontline agency in the fight against global hunger”

Volunteer with Doctors Without Borders
—a group dedicated to saving lives in poverty-stricken regions.

5 Questions with Lauren Stevens
5 Questions with Lauren Stevens
Read More:
News
  • 10678531520930918