January 9, 2001

U.N. Report Maps Hunger 'Hot Spots'


UNITED NATIONS, Jan. 8 Hunger currently afflicts 830 million people around the world because of natural disasters, armed conflict and a grinding poverty that consigns the poor to chronic malnutrition, the United Nations World Food Program reported today.

"From generation to generation, people don't have enough food to eat," Catherine Bertini, the agency's executive director, said at a news briefing, where she distributed a map calling attention to "hot spots" where hunger is most severe. The map identifies large swathes of territory in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia where tens of millions of people, most of them women and children, cannot get enough to eat.

"The combination of poverty and disaster causes people to have even less possibility to build resources to end their hunger," Ms. Bertini said.

The World Food Program defines hunger as a condition in which people fail to get enough food to provide the nutrients for active, healthy lives. Those who are considered undernourished subsist on 1,800 calories a day or less. The figure of 2,100 calories is generally recommended to sustain an average adult.

Although the data the program uses was collected for 1995 to 1997, officials said that their research shows that the scope of the problem has not improved, and in some places is getting worse.

Of the 830 million undernourished people, the report says, 791 million live in developing countries. The food agency said that 200 million are children under age 5 who are underweight for lack of food.

In more than 20 countries, hunger has been compounded by drought, which the agency said has affected 100 million people within the last year. The agency helped feed 16 million people hit by drought last year, compared with 3 million in 1996. In other areas, internal unrest has made it harder, if not impossible, to grow crops and get them to market.

"We've seen an alarming trend where the poorest nations are hit simultaneously by both natural and man-made emergencies, including in Sudan, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Indonesia, Afghanistan, Sierra Leone, Guinea and Tajikistan," Ms. Bertini said. "Unfortunately, we see a potential for that to continue or even increase in 2001."

In sub-Saharan Africa, 180 million people, one-third of the population, are undernourished, the agency reported. The countries worst hit by hunger include Angola, Burundi, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Somalia, Sudan, Ethiopia and Eritrea.

In Asia the number of undernourished people is 525 million, or 17 percent of the population, with the worst hunger found in North Korea, Mongolia, Cambodia and Bangladesh.

In Latin America and the Caribbean, 53 million people, or 11 percent of the population, lack enough food, with the worst conditions in Haiti, Nicaragua, Bolivia and Honduras.

Elsewhere, one of the countries with the greatest problem is Afghanistan, which is ravaged by civil war as well as the worst drought in decades.

Asked about Iraq, which has suffered from United Nations economic sanctions imposed after its invasion of Kuwait in 1990, Ms. Bertini said that 15 percent of Iraqis were malnourished. "Poor children under 5 are the people most at risk in Iraq," she said.

Ms. Bertini said that while conditions have improved in some countries like Bosnia, Namibia and Botswana they have deteriorated in others, like Afghanistan. In Eastern Europe and the countries of the former Soviet Union, the transition from Communism to a free-market economy has caused suffering for people who cannot afford to eat properly.

The World Food Program reported feeding 89 million people last year, including refugees uprooted by wars and natural disasters. The food agency, based in Rome, operates in more than 80 countries.

Ms. Bertini said that countries struggling to overcome hunger need not only food but also water drilling and purification equipment and better sanitation and agricultural systems. In sub-Saharan African, progress has also been impeded by heavy government debt burdens, insufficient funding for health and education and the AIDS pandemic.

New York Times



Back to the Global Menu
Back to News Archive Menu

Notice: TGS HiddenMysteries and/or the donor of this material may or may not agree with all the data or conclusions of this data. It is presented here 'as is' for your benefit and research. Material for these pages are sent from around the world. If by chance there is a copyrighted article posted which the author does not want read, email the webmaster and it will be removed. If proper credit for authorship is not noted please email the webmaster for corrections to be posted.

FAIR USE NOTICE. This site may at times contain copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc.. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

United States Code: Title 17, Section 107 http://www4.law.cornell.edu/uscode/unframed/17/107.html Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 106 and 106A, the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright. In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include - (1) the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes; (2) the nature of the copyrighted work; (3) the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and (4) the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work. The fact that a work is unpublished shall not itself bar a finding of fair use if such finding is made upon consideration of all the above factors.