ICRC warns rising food prices hurting the poorest in war zones

May 27, 2008 (AFP) – The head of the International Red Cross warned Tuesday that soaring food prices are exacerbating the misery of millions of poor people already suffering in war zones from Chad to Afghanistan. “The recent rise in food and fuel prices is making life even harder for poor people already struggling to cope with the effects of war and internal violence,” said Jakob Kellenberger, president of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

“This is especially the case in countries such as Chad, Somalia, Yemen, Afghanistan and Haiti,” he added.

Kellenberger would not be drawn however on any specific risks or future flashpoints.

“I was not indirectly making allusions to specific contexts — by the way, if I had them in mind, it would not be extremely intelligent to mention them,” he said.

“It will be a year of very high expenditure,” Kellenberger told journalists.

The price surge means that the ICRC’s field expenditure by the end of May already amounted to 1.047 billion Swiss francs (646 million euros, 1 billion dollars), around 100 million Swiss francs higher than the total budget for 2007, Kellenberger said.

“It will be a year of very high expenditure,” he told jo