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UN World Food Program likely to cut School Meal for 1.3 Million Children in Africa unless it receives $48 million

The vital programs are endangered because of the competing humanitarian crises around the world, says WFP spokeswoman Bettina Luescher

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FILE - А boy is seen eating dry couscous in the village of Goudoude Diobe, in the Matam region of northeastern Senegal. Image source: VOA

The U.N. World Food Program warns it may be forced to end school meals for more than 1.3 million children in west and central Africa unless it receives $48 million.

School begins in September and October in Cameroon, Mali, Mauritania and Niger. More than half-a-million children in those countries are likely to be deprived of life-saving school meals, according to the WFP.

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Another 700,000 children in 11 other countries will no longer receive the crucial meals when their schools start later in the year.

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Bettina Luescher, WFP spokeswoman, says the vital programs are endangered because of the competing humanitarian crises around the world.

The situation in west and central Africa is especially critical, she says, because WFP is the sole or main provider of school meals in most of the region.

“Families rely on this. If we cannot deliver this, they often are really stuck,” Luescher said. “What could happen is that families take their children out of school. We have seen that all over the world — if money is being spent on school meals, the whole country will profit, the family will profit, the villages will profit.”

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Without those WFP meals, she says, children who go to school on an empty stomach cannot concentrate, and many will become malnourished.

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“What it means is they … will never be as productive in the long run as other children would be,” Luescher added. “School meals help the children, especially girls, get an education.”

Studies by the WFP on the cost of hunger show that for every dollar invested in school meals, there is an overall $3 to $8 economic return. (VOA)

  • Jagpreet Kaur Sandhu

    How painful is this… the children suffer only because money is off higher importance!sad!

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UNHRC Chief Michele Bachelet: India’s Lockdown Has Implementation Challenges

UN Human Rights chief criticises India's quarantine measures

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Michele Bachelet
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michele Bachelet, on Thursday criticised the quarantine measures put in place in the country, saying they stigmatise people. IANS

BY ARUL LOUIS

While India is fighting to stop the spread of Covid-19, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michele Bachelet, on Thursday criticised the quarantine measures put in place in the country, saying they stigmatise people.

She “expressed regret at the measures that have the effect of stigmatising sections of society, including migrants, such as the practice in some states of stamping hands of those quarantined in their homes, reportedly to ensure that they stay home, and sticking notices outside the homes of people quarantined,” the statement said.

She added, “It is important to weigh such measures against the right to privacy and avoid measures that would unduly stigmatise people within the community, who may already be vulnerable due to their social status or other factors.” She has been silent on other places which use electronic monitoring of those under quarantine. Bachelet also had strong criticism for the impact of the lockdown on migrant workers.

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“She was distressed by the plight of millions of internal migrants affected by the sudden announcement of a lockdown,” according to a statement released by her office in Geneva.

The statement said, “Without the ability to sustain themselves in urban centres and in light of the almost complete shutdown of public transportation, hundreds of thousands of migrant men, women and children were forced to walk hundreds of kilometres trying to reach their villages and home states. Some have died making the journey.”

Michele Bachelet
Michele Bachelet had strong criticism for the impact of the COVID-19 lockdown on migrant workers. Pixabay

“Supreme Court of India’s subsequent instruction on March 31 to ensure that migrants are provided enough food, water, beds and supplies as well as psychosocial counselling in shelters that should be run by volunteers instead of security forces, and that they should be treated in a humane manner,” the statement said.

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It quoted her as saying, “The Supreme Court’s order and its implementation will go a long way to ensuring the safety and rights of these vulnerable migrants. Many of these people’s lives have been suddenly uprooted by the lockdown, placing them in very precarious situations.”

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ spokesperson Stephane Dujarric highlighted Bachelet’s statement at his daily briefing on Thursday.

Also Read- Here’s a Healthy Diet for Your Liver

Bachelet, however, acknowledged, that

“the lockdown in India represents a massive logistical and implementation challenge given the population size and its density and we all hope the spread of the virus can be checked.”

She added, “It is nonetheless important to ensure that measures in response to Covid-19 are neither applied in a discriminatory manner nor exacerbate existing inequalities and vulnerabilities.” (IANS)