124 Million People Suffer Severe Hunger Worldwide: UN

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Girls carry containers for food rations at a refugee camp in Ain Issa. — Reuters file

Over the last three years, the number of people who were severely hungry had risen from 80 million in 2015 to 108 million in 2016 and to 124 million in 2017.

NEW YORK — The number of people around the world who were severely hungry rose from 80 million in 2015 to 124 million in 2017, a senior UN official said on Friday.

Speaking via video conference from Switzerland, UN World Food Programme Executive Director David Beasley said starvation peaked worldwide in the last two years mostly because “people won’t stop shooting at each other”.

“The hunger had grown, from 778 million people in 2015 to 815 million in 2016,” he said.

“Over the last three years, the number of people who were severely hungry had risen from 80 million in 2015 to 108 million in 2016 and to 124 million in 2017.”

Indicating that 60 per cent of the world’s 815 million people who were chronically hungry lived in conflict-hit areas, Beasley said “we can end world hunger by 2030, but not as long as there is conflict”.

Speaking during the conference, UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Mark Lowcock said “despite the wildest predictions, famines have become less frequent and less lethal over the past few decades”.

The remaining risk of famine and hunger is now concentrated in a relatively small number of countries affected by large-scale, severe and protracted conflict,” Lowcock said.

“Almost 490 million undernourished people — and almost 80 percent of the world’s 155 million stunted children — live in countries affected by conflict,” he added. — AA

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