World Failing To Reduce Hunger
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WORLD FAILING TO REDUCE HUNGER
Tuesday, 15 October, 2002
Ambitious plans to halve world hunger by 2015 are facing failure, says a
report from the United Nations.
Experts predict that it could take a century to meet the target if progress
were to continue at the current rate.
Jacques Diouf, the director general of the UN Food and Agriculture
Organisation (FAO) said that progress had "virtually ground to a halt" in
the past year.
It is estimated that 25,000 people a day die as a result of hunger and
Each year, six million children under the age of five are affected.
The target of cutting the number of hungry in half by 2015 was set in 1996,
and the FAO calculates that the total should fall by at least 24 million a
year in order to meet it.
However, this would require the progress between 1992 and 2000 to not only
be matched in future, but increased tenfold.
Billions pumped in
The UN has set up an anti-hunger programme which aims to increase investment
in developing countries by $24bn a year.
The latest estimate is that in 1998-2000 there were 840m undernourished
people in the world, including 799m in developing countries.
This is actually more than the previous estimate.
Most of the increase took place in central Africa, driven by warfare in a
single country, DR Congo, which has an estimated 36.4m undernourished
Biggest improvements took place in China, which relieved hunger for 74m.
South-east Asia saw most of the major success stories, with malnutrition cut
dramatically in Indonesia, Vietnam and Thailand.
In Africa, Nigeria and Ghana recorded significant falls in malnutrition.
'Far too slow'
Mr Diouf said: "If we continue at the current pace, we will reach the goal
more than 100 years late, closer to the year 2150 than to the year 2015."
The report also highlights a separate -- and more pervasive problem, dubbed
Even though people who suffer it may not be technically malnourished, they
lack vital nutrients in their diet and their health suffers as a result.
Up to two billion people are said to be vulnerable to this.
Women and children are particularly hard hit, says the report - for example,
up to 140m children risk sight problems because they do not have enough
vitamin A in their diets.
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