Meltdown could leave over 1 bn people hungry in 2009 (Lead, Changing dateline)

June 21st, 2009 - 8:41 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, June 21 (IANS) The global financial crisis may leave over a billion people hungry every day this year, says a new estimate by Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).
According to FAO, a United Nations organisation that leads international efforts to defeat hunger, the number of hungry people globally will rise from 915 million in 2008 to 1.02 billion in 2009.

“This year, mainly due to the shocks of the economic crisis combined with often high national food prices, the number of hungry people is expected to grow overall by about 11 percent, FAO projects, drawing on analysis by the US Department of Agriculture,” FAO said Sunday on its website.

“The most recent increase in hunger is not the consequence of poor global harvests but is caused by the world economic crisis that has resulted in lower incomes and increased unemployment. This has reduced access to food by the poor,” the UN agency said.

“A dangerous mix of the global economic slowdown combined with stubbornly high food prices in many countries has pushed some 100 million more people than last year into chronic hunger and poverty,” said FAO director general Jacques Diouf.

“The silent hunger crisis - affecting one sixth of all of humanity - poses a serious risk for world peace and security. We urgently need to forge a broad consensus on the total and rapid eradication of hunger in the world and to take the necessary actions.”

In Asia and the Pacific, an estimated 642 million people are suffering from chronic hunger, while in sub-Saharan Africa the number is 265 million, 53 million in Latin America and the Caribbean, 42 million in the near East and north Africa, and 15 million in developed countries.

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