One out of every nine people on Earth starved in 2017, points report

Publicação: 9 de November de 2018

If hunger persists, poverty will not be eradicated, natural resources will continue to degrade and forced migration will continue

When it comes to hunger, the most affected people are those who live in conflict areas, such as the Yemen

According to the 2018 Global Hunger Index (GHI), the world has made gradual and long-term progress in generally reducing hunger, but this progress has been uneven. Areas of severe hunger and malnutrition still reflect human misery for millions of people. The data from the last report  by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) show that hunger has reached 821 million people around the world in 2017. The situation has a devastating effect on children’s’ health: 45% of child mortality is related to malnutrition. According to the document, about 150 million children under five years of age (22%) were stunted.

When it comes to hunger, the most affected people are those who live in areas of conflict, such as the Yemen. The country, which already faces the most severe humanitarian crisis in modern days, in the midst of an armed conflict, is about to face the greatest famine of the last 100 years on the entire world, according to the UN humanitarian coordinator in Yemen, Lise Grande. According to her, the situation in the country is so serious that 18 million people no longer know where their next meal is coming from and 8 million of them are considered on the brink of famine. According to the UN, at least 50% of Yemeni children are stunted and the number of children suffering from severe acute malnutrition has increased by 90% in the last three years.

Food wasted by wealthy nations could put an end to world hunger

Rich nations waste US$ 750 million worth of food each year. The figure is twice what is needed to end hunger. The information is part of the report The 2018 State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World, published in September. According to the document, nearly one third of global food production is lost, which sums to 1.3 billion tons, valued at 1 trillion dollars. From fruits, vegetables, roots and tubers, almost half of what is produced is lost. Each year, consumers in rich countries waste 222 million tons of food, equivalent to the total output of sub-Saharan Africa, which is 230 million tons.

Conference calls for global commitment to end hunger

During the 45th World Commission on Food Security (CFS), held in Rome (Italy) in October, the FAO Director-General, José Graziano da Silva, said the failure on the hunger eradication will harm all the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). According to him this means that poverty will not be eradicated, natural resources will continue to degrade and forced migration will continue. The World Food Programme (WFP) executive director, David Beasley, emphasized that the intentions to end the conflicts must be taken more seriously.

On World Food Day, celebrated in more than 150 countries, on October 16, the Secretary-General of the UN, António Guterres, said in a video message that he considered the death of half of the babies in the world due to hunger as intolerable, and appealed that each one plays their part towards a sustainable food system.

Climate change may lead millions of Africans to hunger

 The growth of the world population to 9.5 billion people until 2050 will be challenging to feed everyone. Besides this, climate change and the risk of severe droughts, floods and consequent irregular rains, is a growing threat to the ability to grow enough food for all.

The poorest countries will probably be the most affected. In Africa, where population growth is high and temperatures should rise faster than in any other continent, the problem is more serious, since small producers won’t be able to keep up with the growing demand and the challenges of climate change.

In mid-October, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released in Nairobi, Kenya, a report detailing the progress and the ways to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. Scientists who helped prepare the last report on climate change say an increase of 1.5ºC will increase inequalities and affect the poorest. The rising temperatures will force millions of people in Africa into poverty and starvation unless governments take swift action. On July 5th, Africa probably registered its highest temperature of 51.3°C, in Ouargla, northern Algeria.

There are growing evidences that higher temperatures are linked to the climatic changes that have aggravated droughts and the humanitarian disasters in East Africa, including last year’s drought that put 13 million people in extreme hunger.

Although not exclusively tropical, such as Yemen, hunger is more prevalent in the tropics, where the world’s poverty is concentrated. This way, hunger becomes a tropical issue within the scope of areas of interest of the Tropical Medicine. The Brazilian Society of Tropical Medicine’s supports the October 16, the World Food Day, the problem of global hunger, especially of those people who are already hungry. For this, the theme is included in the Journal of the Brazilian Society of Tropical Medicine, in its annual conferences and other electronic media.…