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17 September 2017, 01:13 | Todd Saunders
World hunger on rise again due to climate change and conflicts
Global hunger is on the rise again after steadily declining for more than a decade, affecting almost 11 percent of the global population, largely due to conflicts and climate change, a United Nations report claimed on Friday.
The report was produced by the WFP, the Food and Agriculture Organisation, International Fund for Agricultural Development, the UN Children's Fund and the World Health Organisation.
In an annual report on the state of food security, the United Nations said 815 million people were chronically undernourished last year, 38 million more than the previous year, the Associated Press reported.
"These trends are a outcome not only of conflict and climate change but also of sweeping changes in dietary habits as well as economic slowdowns", said the report. "This is an indictment of humanity", said the head of the World Food Program, David Beasley.
"Millions of children across northeast Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, Yemen and elsewhere; innocent victims of a deadly combination of protracted, irresponsible conflicts; of drought, poverty and climate change..."
The proportion of children stunted by hunger fell to 22.9 per cent past year, from 29.5 per cent in 2005.
Globally, the prevalence of stunting fell from 29.5 per cent to 22.9 percent between 2005 and 2016, although 155 million children under five years of age across the world still suffer from stunted growth.
122 million of 155 million stunted children live in conflict countries
But even in regions that are more peaceful droughts or floods linked in part to the El Niño weather phenomenon, as well as the global economic slowdown, have also seen food security and nutrition deteriorate, they added.
The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2017 report shows that more than half of those hungry in 2016 - 489 million people - were in countries affected by conflicts.
The report also found at the same time an increase in overweight young children, to 41 million. The largest number live in Asia (520 million), followed by Africa (243 million), and Latin America and the Caribbean (42 million).
The report casts doubt on the U.N.'s stated aim to eradicate hunger by 2030-a theoretically achievable goal, considering, as the United Nations stressed when it announced the goal, the amount of food in the world is more than enough to feed the global population.
"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.
It was stressed that some of the highest proportions of food-insecure and malnourished children in the world are now concentrated in conflict zones. "We will not end hunger and all forms of malnutrition by 2030 unless we address all the factors that undermine food security and nutrition". Although lives were lost, we were able to pull South Sudan out of starvation in three months and Somalia in six months.
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