Thirty-three countries facing grave food crisis: Report

October 15th, 2008 - 12:39 pm ICT by IANS  

Berlin, Oct 15 (DPA) Thirty-three countries, chiefly in Africa and Asia, are experiencing “very serious” to “grave” food supply problems, two food assistance groups have said.Presenting the annual Global Hunger Index (GHI) for 2008, the German food relief group Welthungerhilfe and the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) warned against neglecting the fate of starving people amidst the current financial crisis.

“Nearly one billion starving people are a scandal for humanity,” Welthungerhilfe head Ingeborg Schaeuble said. “In contrast to the banks, they are not to blame for their misery.”

In order to meet the UN Millenium Development Goals of reducing the number of hungry people by one-half by the year 2015, an annual additional spending of up to 10 billion euros ($13.6 billion) is necessary.

The report comes two days before the annual UN World Food Day Oct 16.

The GHI index lists 88 countries’ food supply situation, with 33 countries chiefly from Asia and Africa in the lower positions. The country with the gravest food situation is Congo.

The report cautioned that in view of the current financial crisis, it will be very difficult to mobilize long-term investments required for the urgently needed expansion of agriculture in developing countries.

“This is very bad news for the world’s hungry,” it said.

The GHI index is a compilation based on three chief criteria including the share of undernourished in the population, the number of children below the age of five who are underweight, and the mortality rate for children under five.

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