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Number of hungry people unacceptably high: UN

Last Updated: Thursday, September 16, 2010 - 20:04

United Nations: The number of hungry
people in the world has dropped below one billion, but the
figures are still "unacceptably high", a top UN official said
on Thursday.

The new estimate of the number of people who will
suffer chronic hunger this year is 925 million ? 98 million
down from 1.023 billion in 2009, said a UN report, which will
be released in October.

"With a child dying every six seconds because of
undernourishment related problems, hunger remains the world`s
largest tragedy and scandal," said Jacques Diouf, head of the
Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

"This is absolutely unacceptable," he said.

The new statistics, which have been released ahead of
the Millennium Development Goals Summit next week here,
indicate that world may not be able to achieve its first goal
of reducing by half the number of people whose income is less
than a USD 1 a day between 1990 and 2015.

"The achievement of the international hunger reduction
target is at serious risk," said Diouf, noting that the
current hunger levels "makes it extremely difficult to achieve
not only the first Millennium Development Goal (MDG) but also
the rest of the MDGs."

The eight MDGs include eradication of extreme poverty
and hunger, achieving universal primary, promoting gender
equality, reducing child mortality, improving maternal health,
combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases and ensuring
environmental sustainability.

The 2010 lower global hunger number resulted largely
from renewed economic growth expected this year -particularly
in developing countries- and a drop in food prices since mid
2008, according to the UN.

The UN report on the MDGs released in June, found that
the percentage of the world population living on less than USD
1.25 a day has fallen from 46 per cent in 1990 to 27 per cent
in 2005.

It was expected to further drop to 15 percent by 2015.

While Africa was struggling, the report said that
progress is being made in parts of Asia.

India, for instance, is expected to slash the number
of its extremely poor by 188 million, by 2015 and poverty
rates in China are also expected to fall around 5 percent.

"Vigorous and urgent action by nations and the world
has been effective in helping to halt galloping hunger
numbers," Josette Sheeran, head of the World Food Programme,

"But this is no time to relax. We must keep hunger on
the run to ensure stability and to protect lives and dignity."


First Published: Thursday, September 16, 2010 - 20:04
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