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Food banks warn of smaller parcels due to HGV supply shortages

Food banks

Food banks warn of smaller parcels due to HGV supply shortages

Food banks have said they will have to shrink the size of the parcels they give to struggling families owing to declining stock levels caused by the HGV crisis, supply shortages and a collapse in public donations.

A combination of declining food bank stocks and an expected explosion in demand for charity support after universal credit is cut this week has led some to prepare emergency measures to eke out food supplies further, including making parcels smaller and offering less variety.

Several reported they were already spending hundreds of pounds a month to replenish storerooms depleted by a fall-off in deliveries of surplus food from supermarkets and a big decrease in food donations from the public.

A survey of 68 UK food banks carried out by the Independent Food Aid Network (Ifan) in mid-September and seen by the Guardian found two-thirds reporting food shortages and more than 80% anticipating running low on food stocks in the near future.

“Simply put, we are running out of some types of food because we can’t afford to buy them and they are not being donated any more,” a south-east London food bank reported.

Food banks are anticipating a big rise in the number of people who come to them for assistance over the coming months as a result of the end of the £20-a-week universal credit benefit from 6 October, the end of furlough and steep rises in energy bills.

FareShare, a food charity that normally handles 150 tonnes of supermarket surplus food a day, distributing it to charities and food banks, said bulk deliveries to its warehouses were down by a third because of HGV driver shortages.

It said it saw “no sign of things changing” and it has made an emergency call for volunteer hauliers “who are able to take on additional work”. Last year FareShare distributed 55,000 tonnes of surplus food, equivalent to 132m meals, to more than 10,000 UK charities.

“As a result of the issues facing the haulage industry we estimate that up to 30% of the food we would normally expect to receive into our warehouses on an average day is at risk of not reaching us, and therefore at risk of not reaching the vulnerable people we support,” said Lindsay Boswell, the chief executive of FareShare.

Ministers announced a £500m winter hardship fund last week but charities described it as a “temporary sticking plaster”. “The government is relying on food bank teams to cobble together reduced size emergency parcels and local authorities to stretch paltry sums as they attempt to fill an ever-widening gap,” said Sabine Goodwin, an Ifan co-ordinator.

Loaves and Fishes food bank in East Kilbride is gearing up for an estimated 50% rise in demand for charity food by Christmas. Public donations have shrunk in recent months, it says, as people “have less for themselves and less in their cupboards”.

A generous cash gift had helped ease the strain locally, said the manager Lesley Davidson, but supermarkets did not always let it buy food in the quantities it needs. “It keeps me awake at night because I have 100 families who rely on me,” she said.

The food bank has stopped buying tuna and tinned meat as it could not justify the expense and is considering reducing the amount of pot noodles, milk and coffee, she added. “We always try to give a very generous parcel, with a nod to good nutrition, but we are going to have to reduce the size of food parcels.”

Andy Thornton, of Harlow food bank in Essex, has seen a dip in individual food donations. It has six months of food reserves but is worried. “We are not despondent because we have money for a rainy day, but it is amazing how little £1,000 buys when you are feeding hundreds of people.”

Jane Calcutt, the manager at Kettering food bank, said it had had to buy in donation staples. “A year ago our storeroom was full of pasta and baked beans; I had to buy baked beans last week.”

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Health

12 State Governors Owing Us, Health Workers Cry Out

The Medical and Health Workers Union of Nigeria MHWUN, has cried out that governors of 12 states of Nigeria are unfair to their members by owing them several years of salary arrears and also failed to standardise their payments .

The medical body noted that the worst of it all is that these governors have failed to implement the N30,000 new minimum wage that has become a law in the country.

They said the governors have subjected them to harrowing life.

The MHWUN National Vice President , Femi Adebisi stated this in Ado-Ekiti, the Ekiti state capital at the weekend during the 2022 international youth day organized by the South West leadership of the union, under the theme , ‘Intergenerational solidarity : creating a world for all ages.’

Adebisi said the welfare of health workers remains the only recipe to the recurrent brain drain crippling the health sector.

He however, did not identify the affected 12 states.

“We have nothing less than 12 states that are owing health workers their entitlements.We are engaging them as a union and we are hoping the governors and everyone concern will do the needful soon”, he stated.

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Health

Pay Hazard Allowance To Health Workers, NLC Urges F.G

The President of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Mr Ayuba Wabba, has urged the Federal Government to immediately begin the payment of hazard allowance to health workers in the country.

Wabba made the call at the 2022 annual Federal Capital Territory Nurses Week/Scientific Workshop of the National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives on Thursday in Abuja.

At the workshop with the theme, “Invest in Nursing and respect rights to secure global health,” Wabba said the allowance has been reviewed but payment is yet to begin.

“Many health workers have fallen victim to diseases in taking care of patients. I salute the nurses and Midwives, your reward is not only in heaven but here on earth. I urge you to learn so you can discharge quality healthcare service to Nigerians.

“The payment of hazard allowance will boost the morale of our health workers in the country”, he added.

 

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Health

Cholera Outbreak Kills 10 In Gombe

Gombe state government has declared an outbreak of cholera after ten deaths were recorded across the state.

This was made public by Habu Dahiru, Gombe commissioner for health,  on Thursday.

Dahiru, who was represented by Abdulrahman Shuaibu, executive secretary of the Gombe Primary Health Care Development Agency, said as of September 20, 236 cases of cholera had been recorded in the state.

“This year, from June, we had sporadic cases of cholera in Balanga LGA and because of the preparedness and prompt response; it has been largely subdued without escalation,” he said.

These outbreaks are recorded in eight wards across Balanga, Yamaltu-Deba, Nafada, Funakaye and Gombe LGA of the state.

“The state ministry of health has promptly initiated public health actions for prevention and control of the disease.

“As of September 20, there was an increase in the number of cases in Gombe state as 236 cases have been listed so far.”

The commissioner said increased downpour of rain and flooding in many parts of the state led to the cholera outbreak.

He said decontamination of wells and boreholes in affected communities would be carried out and distribution of water treatment tablets in all affected communities would be conducted.

 

 

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