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WORLD HUNGER REACHES 1 BILLION MARK

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The global financial meltdown has pushed the ranks of the world's hungry to a record 1 billion, a grim milestone that poses a threat to peace and security, U.N. food officials said Friday.
Because of war, drought, political instability, high food pr
ices and poverty, hunger now affects one in six people, by the United Nations' estimate.
The financial meltdown has compounded the crisis in what the head of the U.N. Food and Agricultural Organization(FAQ) called a "devastating combination for the world's most vulnerable."
  • The world's most populous region, Asia and the Pacific, has the largest number of hungry people — 642 million, up 10.5 percent from last year. Sub-Saharan Africa registers 265 million undernourished, an 11.8 percent increase. Even in the developed world, undernourishment is a growing concern, with 15 million in all and a 15.4 percent increase, the sharpest rise around the world, FAO said.
  • Compared with last year, there are 100 million more people who are hungry, meaning they consume fewer than 1,800 calories a day, the agency said.
  • "No part of the world is immune," FAO's Director-General Jacques Diouf said. "All world regions have been affected by the rise of food insecurity." The crisis is a humanitarian one, but also a political issue.
  • Josette Sheeran of the World Food Program, another U.N. food agency based in Rome, said hungry people rioted in at least 30 countries last year. Most notably, soaring food prices led to deadly riots in Haiti and the overthrow of the prime minister.
  • "A hungry world is a dangerous world," Sheeran said. "Without food, people have only three options: They riot, they emigrate or they die. None of these are acceptable options.".
  • Andrei Engstrand-Neacsu, a Nairobi, Kenya-based spokesman for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies in East Africa said, some 22 million of the 1 billion hungry people counted by the United Nations are in the drought-stricken Horn of Africa, he said.
Source: AP
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