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Last Updated: Tuesday, 8 June, 2004, 13:05 GMT 14:05 UK
UN talks tackle hunger problems
By James Helm
In Dublin

Children in Angola
Some 800 million people suffer from chronic hunger
Around 200 senior staff from the UN World Food Programme (WFP) are gathered in Dublin to discuss how to improve the global fight against hunger.

Last year the WFP provided food aid to more than 100 million people in 81 countries.

The three-day meeting is to look at how to make food aid more effective.

Senior staff will spend the next three days in Dublin focusing on the challenges presented by hunger, and how to tackle the problem.

Symbolic start

This gathering of front-line aid workers and executives from the WFP is the first for five years, the aim being to generate new ideas in the fight against famine.

The organisation estimates that 800 million people are currently suffering from chronic hunger across the world.

There was a symbolic start to the meeting with a news conference on the decks of a ship, the Jeanie Johnstone, in dock in Dublin.

The vessel is a reconstruction of an Irish famine ship which took emigrants from Ireland to the United States in the 19th Century.

The former US senator and founding father of the WFP, George McGovern, spoke at the launch.

A range of agencies are represented at the meeting, and there will be much focus on the humanitarian situation in the Darfur region of Sudan.

The WFP describes the crisis as a race against time, with the need to get emergency aid in before the rain starts and the roads in the region deteriorate.

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