The COVID-19 pandemic caused a worsening of hunger in the world in 2020. Between 720 and 811 million people around the world faced hunger, or 161 million more than in 2019, according to a report released on Monday. by several United Nations agencies, including the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the World Food Program (WFP) and others.
One in 10 people was undernourished.
According to the report, although the impact of the pandemic is not yet fully understood, other factors have influenced the state of hunger of the world’s population.
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“More people slipped into chronic hunger in 2020 than in the previous five years combined,” said WFP Executive Director David Beasley. “It means their future potential is being destroyed by hunger. The world must act to save this lost generation before it is too late.”
No region of the world has been spared. While more than half of the undernourished people live in Asia, a sharp increase in hunger has been recorded in Africa – 292 million people, or 30% of the undernourished people in the world.
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The high cost of healthy diets and persistently high levels of poverty and income inequality continue to keep healthy diets out of reach for an estimated 3 billion people around the world. And 2.3 billion people, nearly a third of the world’s population, lacked year-round access to adequate food, with children being the most vulnerable.
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It is estimated that more than 149 million children under 5 are stunted or considered too small for their age; over 45 million are considered emaciated, or too skinny for their height; and nearly 39 million are overweight.
Childhood malnutrition continues to be a challenge, the report says, particularly in Africa and Asia. Obesity in adults also continues to rise, with no change in the trend in sight.
The 2021 edition of the State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World report estimates that in current prices, the United Nations sustainable development goal of ending hunger by 2030 would be missed by a margin of nearly 660 million people.
“Our worst fears are coming true. The reality is worse than expected. Reversing such high levels of chronic hunger will take years, if not decades,” said Arif Husain, WFP chief economist..
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