Wednesday, April 20, 2005

World Food Program in El Salvador

The Executive Director of the UN World Food Program, James Morris, was in El Salvador on Tuesday. During his tour of Central America, the World Food Program reported statistics about childhood malnutrition in the region:

Malnutrition among children in Central America remains a serious problem. Guatemala, for example, has the highest rate of chronic malnutrition among children under five in Latin America – 49 percent. In El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua the figures are also high – 19, 29 and 20 percent respectively.

Morris was in the region to promote public and private efforts to fight hunger. Diario Colatino reported that Morris met with President Tony Saca and announced that the WFP would work with Saca on the government's new Red Solidaria or "Support Network." The Support Network is part of the new anti-poverty program of the Saca administration. Morris lauded the program's goal of reducing extreme poverty in the country by 50% by the end of Saca's presidential term in 2009.

Saca is still saying all the right things about wanting to try and reduce poverty in the country. Whether he can and will follow through and whether there can be any real reduction in poverty without structural changes in the Salvadoran economy is yet to be seen.

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