World Hunger Swells as Conflict, Climate Change Grow

Iraqi boys receive food aid

Now, about 155 million children under five years old are affected.

"While underlining that the failure to reduce world hunger is closely associated with the increase in conflict and violence in several parts of the world, the report attempts to provide a clearer understanding of the nexus between conflict and food security and nutrition, and to demonstrate why efforts at fighting hunger must go hand-in-hand with those to sustain peace".

Sixty percent of the world's chronically hungry people were in areas experiencing man-made conflict. In 2016, the report said, 41 million children who were under age 5 were overweight.

This report is the first global assessment of the United Nations on food security and nutrition to appear in the extension of the Sustainable Development Program in 2030, which has made the eradication of hunger and all forms of malnutrition the main worldwide policy priority.

Anaemia among women and adult obesity are also causes for concern.

The increase in undernourished also came as a gauge of food prices rebounded from a seven-year low, even amid a global glut of grains.

More than half of those hungry live in areas affected by violent conflicts that have crippled local agriculture and restricted access to food supplies, with African nations being among the worst hit.

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Global hunger levels rose a year ago for the first time in more than a decade, the United Nations said, with 11 per cent of the world's population affected as a result of conflict, climate change and economic downturns.

"The concurrence of conflict and climate-related natural disasters is likely to increase with climate change", the report says, "as climate change not only threatens food insecurity and malnutrition, but can also contribute to further downward deterioration into conflict, protracted crisis and continued fragility".

In fact, the United Nations registered more overweight and obese children in most regions of the world and in all regions for adults. "This is an indictment of humanity", said the head of the World Food Program, David Beasley.

The report said people could face possible starvation in parts of South Sudan, northeast Nigeria, Somalia, and Yemen.

Some of the highest proportions of food-insecure and malnourished children in the world are now concentrated in conflict zones, according to The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World.

"These recent estimates are a warning signal that achieving the goal of a world without hunger and malnutrition by 2030 will be challenging", the U.N.'s Food and Agriculture Organization and four other agencies said in the report published Friday.

The heads of major United Nations agencies warned that without concerted action, the ambitious goal set by world governments to end hunger and prevent malnutrition by 2030 will not be reached. Although lives were lost, we were able to pull South Sudan out of starvation in three months and Somalia in six months. "This is the way forward that we see to eradicate hunger and extreme poverty once and for all", he said.

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