Number of starving people rising

"Food situation in crisis regions alarming" says Minister Gerd Müller on World Food Day 2019

A girl in Burkina Faso buying beans

Press release of 15.10.2019 |

BERLIN – On the occasion of World Food Day on 16 October 2019, German Development Minister Gerd Müller said:

"For the past three years, the number of people in the world who are suffering from hunger has been growing again and has now reached 820 million. This is a setback after decades of success in reducing hunger. In crisis-ridden regions in particular the food situation is deteriorating. The situation in and around Syria – now in its ninth year of war – is as serious as never before. The United Nations estimate that, in Syria alone, six million people do not have food security. The humanitarian situation is also dramatic in Yemen, where a child dies of starvation every ten minutes. The international community must make a determined effort to help."

For twenty years, hunger overall had decreased worldwide; but in the last three years, hunger has been on the rise again – mainly as a result of violent conflicts and climate change. The impacts of climate change are hitting the people who have done least to contribute to it and who are already affected by hunger and poverty particularly hard. Since the early 1990s, the number of extreme weather events has doubled. This has led to harvest losses and rising food prices.

"Climate change is making food crises worse. Together, they have long since become a challenge for human survival. Already, 20 million people on the African continent have had to flee the regions affected by drought. That is why we must invest even more in preserving their livelihoods, for example by helping them to develop new cultivation methods, new irrigation techniques and new varieties adapted to climate change. Our special initiative "ONE WORLD – No Hunger" and the fifteen Green Innovation Centres we have sponsored in Africa and India are already focusing on these priorities. Because people need to see a viable future for themselves in their home countries," Minister Müller explained.

According to the 2019 Global Hunger Index, the hunger situation is rated as "serious" or "alarming" in 47 of the 117 countries reviewed. In the Central African Republic it is even rated as "extremely alarming". Overall, however, the global food situation has improved since the year 2000. The greatest improvements have been seen in Ethiopia, Malawi and Nepal, amongst others. However, in many countries progress is slow. If progress does not speed up, 45 countries are unlikely to overcome hunger by 2030.

The current Global Hunger Index is the fourteenth to be published, and is compiled by Germany's Welthungerhilfe and the Irish non-governmental organisation CONCERN Worldwide. The Index gives information about the hunger situation on a global level, by geographic region and by country. The Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) provides support for the compilation of this important data.

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