Global hunger rises for first time in a decade - United Nations agencies


Almost 52 million were affected by wasting - being underweight for their height.

52 million children aren't heavy enough for their height. Anaemia among women is another major problem, it says.

"The concurrence of conflict and climate-related natural disasters is likely to increase with climate change", the report says, "as climate change not only threatens food insecurity and malnutrition, but can also contribute to further downward deterioration into conflict, protracted crisis and continued fragility".

In a fresh global assessment about food security and nutrition, the United Nations warned that the increase is cause for great concern.

It "singles out conflict - increasingly compounded by climate change - as one of the key drivers behind the resurgence of hunger and many forms of malnutrition" said a joint statement by the United Nations agencies which drafted the report.

The agencies called for new ways of working to achieve the goal of ending hunger and malnutrition by 2030. Numbers of hungry began to rise in 2014. The report, a joint product by five leading United Nations agencies warns that malnutrition is threatening the health of and compromising the future of millions of people world-wide.

After a prolonged decline, this recent increase could signal a reversal of trends.

On the other hand, they added, even in regions that are more peaceful droughts or floods linked in part to the El Niño weather phenomenon, as well as the global economic slowdown, have also seen food security and nutrition deteriorate.

More news: 8 dead at nursing home that lost power during Hurricane Irma

The proportion of children stunted by hunger fell to 22.9 per cent previous year, from 29.5 per cent in 2005. Some 11 percent of the world's population is affected.

Earlier this year Unicef estimated that "more than 460,000 children in Yemen face severe malnutrition, while 3.3 million children and pregnant or lactating women suffer from acute malnutrition". Stunting can undermine children's physical and mental development.

Another key finding is that worsening food security conditions have also been observed in more peaceful settings, especially where economic slowdown has drained foreign exchange and fiscal revenues, affecting both food availability through reduced import capacity and food access through reduced fiscal space to protect poor households against rising domestic food prices.

A rise in armed conflicts since 2005 has led to an explosion in the worldwide refugee population, leading to greater food insecurity for 64 million people.

The UN has said some 20 million people face possible starvation in parts of South Sudan, northeast Nigeria, Somalia and Yemen.

David Beasley, the head of the World Food Programme described the latest figures as "an indictment on humanity".

They stressed that some of the highest proportions of food-insecure and malnourished children in the world were concentrated in conflict zones.

"This triggered alarm sirens he is not allowed to ignore: we eliminate hunger and all forms of malnutrition in 2030 if we address all factors that compromise food security and nutrition".