Gulf News (Link) - Reuters, Bloomberg (June 20, 2009)
Rome: The global economic crisis will help push 100 million people into poverty this year through lost jobs and lower earnings, leaving one sixth of the world's population living in hunger, a UN agency said on Friday.
The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) forecast the number of people living in hunger would reach a record high of 1.02 billion this year, exacerbated by persistently high prices for staples following the food crisis of 2006-2008.
World food prices have risen in the past four months after falling from a record in June 2008, according to FAO data. The organisation's index of 55 foods has gained for six consecutive years and surging prices of wheat, rice and corn sparked riots from Haiti to Ivory Coast last year.
Not only will the global slowdown destroy livelihoods in the developing world - where almost all of the world's hungry live - it will reduce aid spending from wealthy countries by around a quarter, just when it is most needed, the FAO warned.
"The silent hunger crisis ... poses a serious risk for world peace and security," said FAO Director General Jacques Diouf. "We urgently need to forge a broad consensus on the total and rapid eradication of hunger."
The FAO said "substantial and sustained remedial actions" were required to reach the UN Millennium goal of halving the number of hungry people to under 420 million by 2015.
Whereas good progress was made in reducing chronic hunger in the 1980s and the first half of the 1990s, it has been steadily on the rise for the past decade, the FAO said.
The urban poor will be the hardest hit, due to job losses, but food pressure will also mount in rural areas as millions of migrants return to the countryside.
Asia and the Pacific was the worst affected region with an estimated 642 million people suffering from chronic hunger, followed by 265 million in sub-Saharan Africa, the FAO said.
Slowdown destroys livelihoods in the developing world and will reduce aid spending from wealthy countries
The number of people living in hunger would reach a record high of 1.02 billion this year
UN Report: Bleak outlook
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