U.N.: World's hungry drop; still too high

Sept. 14, 2010 at 5:30 PM
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UNITED NATIONS, Sept. 14 (UPI) -- The number of hungry people in the world fell below 1 billion, but remains unacceptably high, two United Nations agencies said Tuesday.

A U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization report indicated 925 million people suffer chronic hunger, down nearly 100 million from 1.02 billion in 2009, the United Nations said in a release issued from New York.

"But with a child dying every 6 seconds because of undernourishment-related problems, hunger remains the world's largest tragedy and scandal," FAO Director General Jacques Diouf said.

Recent increases in food prices, if they persist, could further impede efforts to curb the number of hungry people in the world, U.N. officials said.

"Vigorous and urgent action by nations and the world has been effective in helping to halt galloping hunger numbers," said Josette Sheeran, U.N. World Food Program executive director. "(This) is no time to relax. We must keep hunger on the run to ensure stability and to protect lives and dignity."

This year's hunger figure marked a nearly10 percent drop from the 2009 level, the two U.N. officials said. The reduction primarily was in Asia, where 80 million fewer people are estimated to be going hungry this year.

In sub-Saharan Africa, the drop was much lower, 12 million, with one of three people in the region still undernourished, the report said.

The report also said two-thirds of the world's hungry live in seven countries: Bangladesh, China, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, India, Indonesia and Pakistan.

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