Zee Media Bureau
New Delhi: A new report on hunger found that one in three children in India has stunted growth, whereas 15% of the country's population are undernourished.
The 2016 Global Hunger Index (GHI) that was released on Tuesday said 38.7% of Indian children under five years are stunted due to lack of food.
The report by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), also ranked India
97 among 118 countries, faring worse than all its neighbours China (29), Nepal (72), Myanmar (75), Sri Lanka (84) and Bangladesh (90), except for Pakistan (107) in measures of hunger.
The report said that while hunger levels in developing countries have fallen 29% since 2000, efforts to curb hunger must be accelerated in order to meet an international target to eradicate it by 203.
Hunger levels are "alarming" in seven countries, with Central African Republic (CAR), Chad and Zambia experiencing the worst levels, said the report.
Haiti, reeling from last week's Hurricane Matthew and still recovering from a massive 2010 earthquake, has the fourth highest hunger score.
The report also said that another 43 countries, including India, Nigeria and Indonesia, have "serious" hunger levels.
At the current rate of decline, more than 45 countries - including India, Pakistan, Haiti, Yemen, and Afghanistan - will have "moderate" to "alarming" hunger scores in the year 2030, the authors of the index said.
"Countries must accelerate the pace at which they are reducing hunger" if they are to meet the 2030 target, Shenggen Fan, director general of the Washington-based International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), said in a statement.
The hunger index ranks countries based on undernourishment, child mortality, child wasting (low weight for height) and child stunting (low height for age).
Nearly half the population in CAR and Zambia, and one in three people in Chad, are undernourished, it showed.
Sub-Saharan Africa has the highest hunger levels, followed closely by South Asia.
"Too many people are hungry today. There is a need for urgent, thoughtful and innovative action to ensure that no one ever goes hungry again," said David Nabarro, special adviser to the U.N. secretary-general on the SDGs.
The report also highlighted some bright spots, for 20 countries, including Rwanda, Cambodia, and Myanmar, who reduced their GHI scores by over 50% each since 2000.
(With Agency inputs)