As WTO giants bicker on food aid, thousands die - U.N.

Original Publication Date: 
15 December, 2005
HONG KONG (Reuters) - Europe and the United States should be throwing their efforts into increasing food aid instead of arguing about the form it takes, a top U.N. food aid official said on Friday. A long-simmering row between Washington and Brussels boiled over at a trade meeting in Hong Kong this week, with ministers exchanging barbed comments about whether humanitarian aid should be in the form of commodities or cash.

"What is disgraceful and outrageous is that 18,000 children die of hunger every day, every one of them a preventable death. That's what the controversy should be about," said John Powell, deputy executive director of the United Nations' World Food Programme.

"We need more food and more cash," he told reporters.

The United States currently sends donations to developing countries in the form of its own domestic corn, wheat and other commodities. The European Union argues that cash is quicker and least likely to affect the direct balance of local trade.

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