Number of hungry people unacceptably high: UN

The new estimate of the number of people who will suffer chronic hunger this year is 925 million — 98 million down from 1.023 billion in 2009, said a UN report, which will be released in October.

"With a child dying every six seconds because of undernourishment related problems, hunger remains the world's largest tragedy and scandal," said Jacques Diouf, head of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

"This is absolutely unacceptable," he said.
The new statistics, which have been released ahead of the Millennium Development Goals Summit next week here, indicate that world may not be able to achieve its first goal of reducing by half the number of people whose income is less than a USD 1 a day between 1990 and 2015.

"The achievement of the international hunger reduction target is at serious risk," said Diouf, noting that the current hunger levels "makes it extremely difficult to achieve not only the first Millennium Development Goal (MDG) but also the rest of the MDGs."

The eight MDGs include eradication of extreme poverty and hunger, achieving universal primary, promoting gender equality, reducing child mortality, improving maternal health, combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases and ensuring environmental sustainability.
The 2010 lower global hunger number resulted largely from renewed economic growth expected this year -particularly in developing countries- and a drop in food prices since mid 2008, according to the UN.

The UN report on the MDGs released in June, found that the percentage of the world population living on less than USD 1.25 a day has fallen from 46 per cent in 1990 to 27 per cent in 2005.

It was expected to further drop to 15 percent by 2015.
While Africa was struggling, the report said that progress is being made in parts of Asia.
India, for instance, is expected to slash the number of its extremely poor by 188 million, by 2015 and poverty rates in China are also expected to fall around 5 percent.

"Vigorous and urgent action by nations and the world has been effective in helping to halt galloping hunger numbers," Josette Sheeran, head of the World Food Programme, said.

"But this is no time to relax. We must keep hunger on the run to ensure stability and to protect lives and dignity."

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