Concern Worldwide warns of catastrophic hunger for millions of people in 2021
A major report published today warns that 142 million people will face severe food shortages this year and forecasts famines in at least two countries.
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The 2018 Global Hunger Index (GHI) - jointly published by Irish aid agency Concern Worldwide and German charity Welthungerhilfe – found that despite an overall 28 per cent drop in hunger levels across the world since 2000, they have worsened in many nations.
This major study examined 119 countries and found that 51 have levels of hunger that are serious or alarming with Central African Republic singled out as the only nation with an “extremely alarming” level of hunger, which is the result of an ongoing conflict that has destroyed livelihoods and left millions of people displaced.
South Asia and Africa, south of the Sahara, are highlighted as regions of the world with the most alarming levels of hunger.
Concern’s Chief Executive, Dominic MacSorley, said:
“It is staggering that 124 million people are suffering today from acute hunger and, in some cases, starvation.
“This is an increase from 80 million two years ago. That means more people on the ground are dying from preventable causes, mostly conflict. And the majority of those who die are children.
“Too often, we are drawn away from any focus on root causes and toward misleading representations of a global crisis.
“Instead, we must work to tackle the political factors that lead to hunger and displacement including conflict.
“Hunger and forced migration are painful realities for millions, but they are not inevitable. This drastic state of affairs has yet to spur the kind of political leadership and action that is so urgently needed.
“More worryingly, we are seeing the issue of migration become a lightning rod for new political discourse that is increasingly more hard-line than humanitarian.
“This year’s GHI is not just a renewed call to action on hunger and forced migration, but an urgent wake-up call for a resurgence of humanity in how we address the shocking truth that in a world of plenty, millions of people still go to bed hungry each night.
“In 2015, the world’s countries committed to achieving zero hunger by 2030. We are not on track to meet that goal. Hunger is political and progress is possible.”
The six countries ranked with alarming levels of hunger in the new GHI are Chad, Haiti, Madagascar, Sierra Leone, Yemen and Zambia while some of the 45 countries ranked with serious levels of hunger include Afghanistan, North Korea, Kenya, Iraq, Myanmar and Bangladesh.
There were thirteen countries where no GHI scores could be calculated for the study and in seven of those countries, including Somalia, South Sudan, and Syria, Concern Worldwide and Welthungerhilfe determined that missing data was a cause for significant concern. The report states that, in some cases, data is unavailable as a result of violent conflict or political unrest, which are strong predictors of hunger and undernutrition. The report heralds the adoption of UN Security Council Resolution 2417 (2018) - which condemns the use of starvation as a method of warfare - as a potentially significant milestone in the fight against hunger and urges UN members to introduce an accountability system to highlight and deter violations of it.
The GHI2018 report can be downloaded on this dedicated website: www.globalhungerindex.org.
For more information or interview requests, please contact Kevin Jenkinson at [email protected] or on 086 358 2886.
Notes to editor
The GHI, now in its 13th year, ranks countries based on four key indicators: undernourishment, child mortality, child wasting (malnourished or emaciated) and child stunting (low body weight to height).
Ten of the highest scoring countries (with highest levels of hunger out of 119 countries analysed) in GHI 2018
Country Category 2018
1 Central African Republic Extremely Alarming 53.7
2 Chad Alarming 45.4
3 Yemen Alarming 39.7
4 Madagascar Alarming 38
5 Zambia Alarming 37.6
6 Sierra Leone Alarming 35.7
7 Haiti Alarming 35.4
8 Sudan Serious 34.8
9 Afghanistan Serious 34.3
10 Timor-Leste Serious 34.2
About Concern Worldwide
Concern Worldwide is an international non-governmental humanitarian organisation dedicated to the reduction of suffering and working towards the ultimate elimination of extreme poverty in the world’s poorest countries.