Society

Media Focused On Trump, Ignoring Famine Victims

| by Jordan Smith

The head of the United Nations World Food Program (WFP) has attacked the U.S. media for its alleged obsession with President Donald Trump.

David Beasley pointed out that the lives of millions are at risk in Yemen, South Sudan, Somalia and Nigeria due to famine, The Independent reported.

"If you turn on ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, CNN -- it's nothing but Trump, Trump, Trump, Trump, Trump, Trump, Trump!" Beasley said, according to The Independent.

Beasley was appointed to head the body, which is responsible for distributing food rations around the world, by the Trump administration. He added that the famine was "not fake news," and instead was "reality."

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The WFP projects that 20 million people are at risk of dying in the coming six months. The famine was caused by a combination of drought and conflicts in the countries affected.

"It's the biggest crisis any of us have ever seen," said Denise Brown, director of emergencies at the WFP, according to Business Standard.

She added that the number of those at risk keeps on increasing.

Fekri, a father of four living in Yemen, spoke to the charity Oxfam about the conditions there.

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"Life is difficult these days," he said, according to Oxfam. "We cannot afford all the essential items. More than half of our money is spent on water."

In 2010-11, 250,000 people died in a famine in Somalia because the international community failed to act quickly enough. A senior staffer said a similar scenario threatens to develop now.

Dominique Burgeon of the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization explained the importance of providing longer-term assistance to those affected, including crop seeds, irrigation systems and fishing equipment.

"We must not just keep people from the edge of the cliff -- we must pull them away from the cliff," Burgeon added, Business Standard reported.

Trump has previously been critical of the UN, describing it as "just a club for people to get together, talk and have a good time," The Independent reported. He has threatened to cut U.S. funding for the organization.

But Steve Taravella hopes U.S. funding commitments to the WFP will be met.

"There has always strong bipartisan support in Congress for food aid," he said.

Taravella stated that officials were forced to put half a million refugees in UN-run camps on a "diet" of 850 calories per day in 2014 due to the lack of food aid.

Congress recently approved $990 million in food aid. This can only be a temporary measure, with a reported $2 billion required this year alone to meet current needs.

"People are dying today not three months from now," added Taravella.

Sources: The Independent, Business Standard, Oxfam / Photo credit: U.S. Customs and Border Protection/Flickr

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