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Ban Ki-moon calls for food aid

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called for nearly $2.5 billion (SFr2.6 billion) in donations to tackle the global food crisis.

Ban appealed to the international community to address the issue after a closed-door meeting in Bern on Tuesday attended by the heads of 27 UN agencies and organisations.

“Without these funds we risk the spectre of famine, malnutrition and unprecedented social uprising,” he said.

It follows calls by the UN special rapporteur on the right to food, Jean Ziegler, for donors to increase humanitarian aid or see more people dying of starvation in the coming months.

The UN and the World Bank have announced the creation of a task force headed by Ban to tackle rises in global food prices.

The World Bank estimates food prices have risen by an average of 83 per cent in the past three years. A range of factors has been blamed for the food crisis, including poor harvests, rising oil prices and steep growth in demand from China and India.

Foreign Minister Micheline Micheline Calmy-Rey said Switzerland would pay SFr2 million into the appeal as an immediate response.

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR