Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Number Suffering From Chronic Hunger Drops By 100 Million in One Year

Since 2009, the number of people suffering from chronic hunger worldwide has dropped from 1.02 billion to 925 million, according to a recent report from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

Many regions have made significant advances in feeding their populations, most notably in Asia, where it is estimated that 80 million fewer people will go hungry this coming year than last. Since 2000, the percentage of the world's population that suffers from world hunger has dropped from 20 to 16 percent.

Although many countries have succeeded in reducing hunger, many regions have seen little or no improvement in recent years. In sub-Saharan Africa, one out of three people are still malnourished. Additionally, two-thirds of the world's hungry live in just seven countries: Bangladesh, China, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, India, Indonesia and Pakistan.

Urging nations and individuals to continue progress toward the first target of the Millennium Development Goals, eradicating global hunger, FAO Director-General Jacques Diouf calls hunger "the world's largest tragedy and scandal."

While many blame rising grain and meat prices and the ongoing economic/financial crisis for continued problems with hunger, according to the FAO, the fact that the number of undernourished citizens has risen even during historic periods of high economic growth indicates that it is not just high food prices or weaknesses in the global economy that cause hunger, but rather, deeply embedded structural deficiencies within nations and institutions. It is these problems that must continue to be addressed.

-Elizabeth Newton

SOURCE: United Nations News Centre, Reuters (photo)