Undernourishment: the ill that refuses to disappear
Of all subjective indicators, the ability to guarantee a minimum food supply for one’s family is still the most crucial human need. Undernourishment is the inability to ensure sufficient food intake to meet one’s daily energy needs, leading to deficiencies.
According to the FAO, more than 25,000 die from malnutrition each day, and over 850 million live with it on a daily basis. After a dip in both the percentage and number of the world population affected in the 1990s, the number of undernourished people starting to rise again towards the middle of the first decade of the new millennium, to reach 14 % of the world population.
There are great discrepancies between continents. Of the 20 most-affected countries, where 35% to 73% of the population is undernourished, 16 are in Sub-Saharan Africa. The situation should not be considered an unavoidable one, since some of those countries are rich in natural resources, such as Angola or the Democratic Republic of Congo. Other affected countries are suffering the effects of political unrest or crisis, such as North Korea, Haiti, and Yemen. Yet statistics in all their detachment do little to convey the depth of unimaginable human suffering involved. Of the Indian population, a figure of 20% malnourished represents over 210 million people. 12% in China – “better” than the world average – amounts to 150 million living without daily sustenance.Considering that, in the 1970s, ECD countries had pledged 0.7% of their GDP to development assistance and that scarcely 0.3% is in fact handed over, one may well question this discrepancy between humanist speech and concrete action.
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