Global hunger dramatically worsened during the year of the pandemic

Global hunger dramatically worsened during the year of the pandemic

The United Nations lamented on Monday what it called a “dramatic worsening” in world hunger last year, saying much of it is likely linked to the coronavirus pandemic.

A report released jointly by five United Nations agencies said hunger outpaced population growth in 2020, with nearly 10 percent of all people estimated to be undernourished.

He said the biggest increase in hunger has occurred in Africa, where 21 percent of the population is estimated to be undernourished.

Children have paid a high price, with 149 million children under five estimated to be stunted because they are too small for their age. Over 45 million children are too thin for their height.

“3 billion adults and children remain deprived of healthy diets, largely due to excessive costs,” UN agencies said.

“In many parts of the world, the pandemic has triggered brutal recessions and compromised access to food,” the United Nations said in a summary of its findings. “Yet even before the pandemic, hunger was spreading; progress on malnutrition has lagged behind. “

“Worryingly, in 2020 hunger increased both in absolute and proportional terms, outpacing population growth,” the report’s authors concluded. The report found that around 9.9% of the world’s population were believed to have been undernourished last year, up from 8.4% in 2019.

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The report also noted the paradoxical problem of nearly 39 million overweight children.

The United Nations said the pandemic has further compromised the UN’s goal of zero hunger by 2030. Based on current trends, it estimates the target will be “missed by a margin of nearly 660 million. people “, and that some 30 million of this figure” may be linked to the lasting effects of the pandemic. “

The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World report was prepared by United Nations agencies including the Rome-based Food and Agriculture Organization, the World Food Program and the Fund. international agricultural development. The other two agencies were the United Nations Children’s Fund, commonly known as UNICEF, based in New York, and the World Health Organization, or WHO, headquartered in Geneva.

The report has been described by the agencies as the “first global assessment of its kind in the era of the pandemic”.

Among the UN recommendations was a call to strengthen “the resilience of the most vulnerable to economic adversity”, for example through programs aimed at mitigating the impact of “pandemic-type shocks” or sharp increases in food prices.