World Hunger: Good News, Bad News

Categories: The Critic
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First, the good news: The number of chronically hungry people in the world has dropped for the first time in 15 years, according to "The State of Food Insecurity in the World" report that will be jointly released by the Rome-based Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the United Nations World Food Program (WFP) next month. The dip is due in part to a fall in food prices from peaks in 2007 to 2008. Bountiful cereal and rice harvests have also led to the improved numbers; cereal production last year was the third highest ever recorded despite shortfalls in Russia. The report estimates there are 98 million fewer chronically hungry people than in 2009, when the figure topped 1 billion.

And now the bad news:

A child dies every six seconds from starvation; an estimated 925 million people suffer from chronic starvation worldwide. And these latest figures do not reflect the repercussions from the massive flooding in Pakistan.

Other findings to be released:

* Two thirds of the world's undernourished live in just seven countries--Bangladesh, China, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, India, Indonesia and Pakistan.
* The region with the most undernourished people continues to be Asia and the Pacific with 578 million.
* The proportion of undernourished people remains highest in sub-Saharan Africa at 30 percent in 2010, or 239 million.:

Bon appétit!

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