Archive for Thursday, October 15, 2009

U.N.: Record 1 billion go hungry

October 15, 2009


— Parents in some of Africa’s poorest countries are cutting back on school, clothes and basic medical care just to give their children a meal once a day, experts say. Still, it is not enough.

A record 1 billion people worldwide are hungry and a new report says the number will increase if governments do not spend more on agriculture. According to the U.N. food agency, which issued the report, 30 countries now require emergency aid, including 20 in Africa.

The trend continues despite a goal set by world leaders nine years ago to cut the number of hungry people in half by 2015.

“It’s actually a world emergency that calls for action from both developing and developed countries,” said Otive Igbuzor, the head of international campaigns for ActionAid International.

“We know a child dies every six seconds of malnutrition,” he said.

Spiraling food prices have added to hardships, especially in the world’s most desperate countries where the poor could barely afford a single daily meal to begin with. The inflated prices — which caused riots across the globe last year — have stabilized but remain comparatively high, especially in the developing world, Jacques Diouf, director general of the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, told AP Television News.

In Somalia, ravaged by violence and anarchy for almost two decades, the monthly expenditure for food and other basic needs for a family of six has risen 85 percent in the past two years, said Grainne Moloney of the Somalia Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit.

On average, such a family spent $171 in September this year, compared with $92 for the same amount of food and other needs in March 2007, said Moloney, a nutrition expert for the Horn of Africa nation.


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