Fresh from the global success of the world’s first humanitarian video game designed to arouse children’s interests in the challenges of fighting hunger, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) today announced the launch of a blog, an interactive internet chat site, that allows youngsters to talk directly to aid workers on the battle’s frontlines. “In response to queries from Food Force players all over the world on how they could help, the new blog is a way to channel interest and a place to exchange ideas,” WFP said, referring to the educational video game which has now been played by at least 4 million people since its launch in April 2005 and is currently available in five languages. ‘Joe’s blog,’ named after one of Food Force’s main characters, is a place where the millions of youngsters who played the video game and visited the site can form a global community focusing on hunger and other social issues. It lets them send questions to WFP aid workers who post stories about their experiences and the reality of delivering life-saving food to those in need. Hunger and malnutrition kill more people than AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined. Food Force conjures up a virtual world of planes launching food airdrops over crisis zones and emergency trucks struggling up treacherous roads under rebel threat with emergency supplies to bring food to the desperately hungry. Gamers face a number of realistic challenges to urgently feed thousands of people on the fictitious island of Sheylan, piloting helicopters on reconnaissance missions, negotiating with armed rebels on convoy runs and using food to help rebuild villages. Before each mission, the player is presented with an educational video segment about the reality of WFP work in the field, teaching them how WFP responds to actual food emergencies – where food originates, its nutritional breakdowns and how it is delivered.