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33 countries face "alarming" levels of hunger
Eritrea has the highest proportion of undernourished people in the world. 75% of Eritreans are undernourished, the highest percentage in the whole world. In Global Hunger Index 2008 Eritrea ranks 87th out of 88 countries and Ethiopia with 15 times the population of Eritrea ranks 82nd.
Thirty-three countries around the world have "alarming" or "extremely alarming" levels of hunger, according to the 2008 Global Hunger Index, a metric released by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), in conjunction with Welthungerhilfe and Concern Worldwide.
The index measures global hunger by ranking countries on prevalence of child malnutrition, rates of child mortality, and the proportion of people who are calorie deficient. The Democratic Republic of Congo scored the worst on the Index, followed by Eritrea, Burundi, Niger, Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Ethiopia.
IFPRI says that because the baseline data dates to 2006, "the rankings do not reflect the current crisis of rising food prices, but they do highlight which countries could be most vulnerable to the crisis."
"Most of the countries ranked in the Index are net importers of grains, and are therefore more likely to suffer because of rising food prices," added the NGO in a statement.
Joachim von Braun, IFPRI director general, says that slow gains in reducing hunger in recent decades may be losing ground.
“The world has made only slow progress in reducing hunger in past decades, with dramatic differences among countries and regions,” said Joachim von Braun, IFPRI director general. “Population and income growth, high energy prices, biofuels, science and technology, climate change, globalization, and urbanization are introducing drastic changes to food consumption, production, and markets. The current financial crisis complicates the picture: it actually brings some short-term relief for hungry people, as it contributes to reduced commodity prices, but the credit crunch makes access to capital difficult, including for agriculture, and that adds another obstacle for overcoming the food crisis.”
IFPRI recommends increased spending on agricultural research and policy measures to address the current food crisis.
“Priorities for action at the national and global level must address the immediate food needs of poor people priced out of food markets," said von Braun At the same time, national governments and the global community should begin to correct previous failures in agricultural policy by investing in agriculture and food production, setting up reliable systems for assisting the most vulnerable people in a timely way, and establishing a fair global trading system and a conducive investment environment."
Global Hunger Index
Highlights from the report
The World's 10 Hungriest Countries
80 Yemen, Rep
84 Sierra Leone
87 Eritrea (The world's 2nd Hungriest 'Country')
88 Congo, Dem. Rep.
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