… South Sudan, Somalia, Yemen and North-East Nigeria top list
A United Nations (UN) report has shown that the total number of people who do not have food to eat has increased to 815 million in 2016 as against 777 million recorded in 2015.
According to The State of Food Insecurity and Nutrition in the World, global hunger numbers fell steadily from 926 million in 2005 to 795 million in 2010, and broadly stabilized until last year’s “worrisome” jump.
The report, according to AFP, was a joint effort from UNICEF, the World Health Organisation, the Food and Agriculture Organisation, the International Fund for Agricultural Development and the World Food Programme.
An earlier report showed that the global population facing chronic food shortages has fallen from just under 15 per cent in 2000 to a low of 10.6 per cent in 2015 but later increased to 11 per cent in 2016.
The UN agencies blamed “violent conflicts and climate-related shocks” such as the El Nino weather phenomenon for “sharply” worsening food security in parts of sub-Saharan Africa, South-Eastern Asia and Western Asia.
According to the world body, South Sudan, where a famine was declared in early 2017, and north-east Nigeria, Somalia and Yemen, which have been classified as high risk of famine, were singled out as areas of particular concern.
They said it is “not yet clear” whether the increase in hunger rates is a blip or the beginning of a new trend, but it anyway “poses a significant challenge for international commitments to end hunger by 2030.”
The report, stated that “in absolute numbers, most of the world’s hungry people -520 million, live in Asia.
“But in relative terms, the hunger crisis is worse in Africa, where 20 per cent of the population – 243 million people, is affected. This rises to 33.9 per cent in Eastern Africa.
The report further disclosed that “among children under 5; 155 million are too short for their age, 52 million are too skinny for their age, and 41 million are overweight”.
It stated also that obesity was said to be on the rise everywhere, affecting 641 million people, or 13 per cent of world’s adults.
The UN agencies also lamented the fact that 613 million women of child-bearing age, about a third of the total, suffer from anemia, or iron-deficiency, which represents a health risk for them and their offspring.
Falling hunger rates have until recently been a major success story, largely thanks to rapid economic development in Asia.
Two years ago, the UN hailed the fact that more than 200 million people had been freed from hunger since 1990.