October 2, 2013

Hunger Down From Last Year But Hundreds of Millions Still Have Too Little to Eat

A class 8 student multches at the Kumpa Holy Mother Farm.
A student mulches at the Kumpa Holy Mother Farm. Photo: David Mutua

NEW YORK, NY -- Some 842 million people, or roughly one in eight, suffered from chronic hunger in 2011-13, according to a report released by the UN food agencies.

Responding to the dismal figures, CWS president and CEO the Rev John McCullough said the issue of hunger is “one of the most urgent public policy issues facing the U.S. government and hunger fighting organizations like CWS.”

The news is not all bad.  The annual snapshot of hunger and malnutrition in the world noted that this year’s number is less than the 868 million food insecure people reported for the 2010-12 period.  The report, State of Food Insecurity in the World is published by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the World Food Programme (WFP).

McCullough, whose humanitarian agency annually spend millions of dollars on programs aimed at helping people achieve food security internationally and in the United States, has called the persistence of hunger and poverty “perplexing.” 

In a world with abundant resources, McCullough said “There is enough for all and making a concerted effort to provide nutritional assistance to children and impoverished people is more than just an integral part of creating lasting food security.  It is an act of faith.”

As a whole, the report says, developing regions have made significant progress towards the Millenium Development Goals target of reducing by half the proportion of hungry people by 2015, and the report projects that undernourishment will reach a level close to the MDG hunger target if the average annual decline since 1990 continues to 2015.

With a U.S. Congress intent on cutting programs to balance the budget, McCullough says it is imperative that people of conscience speak out in support of adequate assistance to help people around the world who are struggling to feed their families. 

“It is astonishing that any of us can even consider further reducing assistance to help poor people or feed hungry people. Our first responsibility is to care for the well-being and rights of each other. If there is such a thing as exceptionalism, then it should mean there is no limit to the lengths we will go in order to make sure that everyone knows the true spirit of compassion.”