Image: "African Union Brings Assistance to Drought-Stricken Somalis" by United Nations Photo, licensed under CC BY 2.0
Are we living in a time of famine?
Extreme poverty remains a daily reality for more than 1 billion people who subsist on less than US$1 a day. Hunger and malnutrition are almost equally pervasive: More than 800 million people have too little to eat to meet their daily energy needs. More than a quarter of children under age five in developing countries are malnourished.
Malnutrition in children contributes to over half of child deaths. It is caused not only by food deprivation, but also by the debilitating effects of infectious diseases and lack of care. Over 150 million children under age five in the developing world are underweight.
Out of 13 million deaths in large-scale conflicts from 1994 to 2003, over 12 million were in sub-Saharan Africa, Western Asia, and Southern Asia. Not surprisingly, these regions are also home to three quarters of the world’s 37 million refugees and displaced persons and the areas where the number of hungry people is growing.
Over the same period of time, 669,000 people died as a consequence of natural disasters. Nearly three quarters of these deaths were in Eastern and Southern Asia.