World Hunger Increases for The First Time in Nearly a Decade

Children retrieving water. Imperial College London

Washington, D.C. – A new report released today by the United Nations says that 815 million people in the world suffered hunger in 2016. This marks the first increase in hunger rates since the food price crisis of 2007 and 2008, and is a significant increase from the 777 million who suffered from hunger in 2015.

According to the report, State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World, this reversal is due to conflict and the effects of climate change in parts of Southeast and West Asia, and sub-Saharan Africa.

“The progress the world has made against hunger is nothing short of remarkable – a sign that God is indeed moving in our time,” said Rev. David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World. “However, this report raises the alarm that conflict and climate change stand in the way of ending hunger within our lifetimes.”

The report finds that hunger is now increasingly concentrated in fragile and conflict-affected areas. This is consistent with the analysis in Bread for the World Institute’s 2017 Hunger Report, Fragile Environments, Resilient Communities.

Famine and near famine conditions threaten at least 20 million people. The long-term consequences of hunger and malnutrition, conflict, and climate change risk hampering the strong economic growth that has helped lift hundreds of millions of people out of extreme poverty worldwide.

“Clearly, this is not the time for Congress to cut the foreign aid budget,” Beckmann said. “We need to use all of the resources at our disposal, both humanitarian and diplomatic, to prevent tragedy. USAID Administrator Mark Green’s recent trip to famine-affected countries is a great start. Now we need the State department’s diplomacy to help resolve these conflicts so we can end hunger.” 

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