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World Hunger: Good Trends to Keep Us Going
The world needs more good news. Shaky financial markets, civil wars—even asteroids!—make for unsettling headlines. Since bad news seems to rule, we haven’t heard much about big improvements in hunger and child mortality released lately.
A September 2012 report from UNICEF (Levels and Trends in Child Mortality 2012) says child deaths under age 5 have declined 41% since 1990—nearly half! The number of children who die annually is down from 12 million to 6.9 million per year, with malnutrition a factor in only one-third of those deaths, down from 60%. Based on this remarkable change, Feed My Starving Children now estimates that the daily toll from hunger is 6,200—a dramatic drop from 18,000, which we quoted for years.
There’s been a similar improvement in the percentage of people worldwide who are “chronically hungry.” The 1 billion figure presumed for so long is more like 870 million now, according to the U.N.’s Food and Agricultural Organization (State of Food Insecurity in the World 2012).
“Progress in reducing hunger has been more pronounced than previously believed,” said the F.A.O. report. “The Millennium Development Goal target of halving the prevalence of undernourishment in the developing world by 2015 is within reach, if appropriate actions are taken to reverse the slowdown [in progress] since 2007-2008.”
While it’s hard to celebrate any numbers in the same sentence as hunger, the trend is encouraging. Populous nations have grown their economies, lifting millions out of poverty. But targeted assistance from organizations like Feed My Starving Children is also working. You—our volunteers and donors—are making a difference!
So let’s keep going! We have a job to finish. These facts are still unacceptable:
- 1 in 8 people doesn’t eat enough to be healthy.
- 6,200 children under 5 die each day from hunger-related causes.
- 1 in 4 kids has stunted growth due to poor diets.
- Economic progress is not likely to reach “the poorest of the poor.”
The World Food Programme calls hunger “the biggest solvable problem in the world today.” And it is. For less than 25¢ a meal, Feed My Starving Children can feed a child for a day. With distribution partners embedded in 50 countries, we can reach the “poorest of the poor,” bringing them the nutrition that jump-starts all other progress.
Thank you for your help! We have so much to celebrate—and lots still to do.