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Thursday, February 5, 2009

Hunger: World’s #1 Killer Finally Earns Title of ‘Crisis’

Even in a time of economic decline, the threat of simply not having enough to eat is a remote one for the great majority of westerners. So it comes as a surprise to many North Americans that hunger and malnutrition are the number one risk to health worldwide, greater than AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined.

This problem has worsened in poor countries to such an extent that the media is finally using the kind of language that is accorded to ‘real’ issues, those worthy of global attention - namely, the label of ‘crisis’. Google ‘Food Crisis’ and you will get tens of thousands of hits, all referencing the same phenomenon: namely, many more people are starving today than they were before.

The following are statistics on world hunger from the World Food Program and the Office of the U.N. Secretary-General:

- In 2008, the number of undernourished people in the world rose to 963 million (more than the combined populations of the United States, Canada and the European Union), up 40 million from 2007.

- Hunger does not affect just the individual. Economists estimate that every child whose physical and mental development is stunted by hunger and malnutrition stands to lose 5 percent to 10 percent in lifetime earnings.

- The total food surplus of the United States alone could satisfy every empty stomach in Africa; France's leftovers could feed the hungry in Democratic Republic of Congo and Italy's could feed Ethiopia's undernourished.

- Today 25,000 people will die from hunger. A child dies every six seconds of malnutrition or starvation.

- There is enough food in the world today for everyone to have the nourishment necessary for a healthy and productive life.

HOPE International Development Agency has invested into the ability of the most-poor to feed themselves for over thirty years. If hunger is not something you have experienced, count yourself blessed - and then act to bless somebody who has.

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