Hunger: distribution, causes& ConsequencesWhat exactly is hunger? What are the consequences of malnutrition? Where is hunger most prevalent?
Hunger has many faces: Despite tlw. adequate food supply, two billion people suffer from malnutrition. The nutrient mix is crucial. © Welthungerhilfe
Every thirteen seconds, a child under the age of five dies as a result of hunger. Up to 811 million people go hungry, over two billion suffer from malnutrition. Yet there is enough food, knowledge and resources for everyone. What's more: all people have a right to food. Since its inception, Welthungerhilfe has worked to end world hunger by 2030 through a variety of strategies.
– What is hunger? The definition of hunger
What is hunger? The hunger definition
Acute hunger Describes malnutrition over a definable period of time. It is the most extreme form of hunger and often occurs in conjunction with crises such as droughts caused by El Nino, wars and disasters. It often affects people who are already suffering from chronic hunger. This applies to just under eight percent of all people who go hungry.
Chronic hunger refers to a state of permanent malnutrition. The body takes in less food than it needs. Although the media mostly report on acute hunger crises, chronic hunger is the most widespread globally. It usually occurs in connection with poverty. The chronically hungry have too little money for a healthy diet, clean water or health care.
Hidden hunger (hidden hunger) is a form of chronic hunger. Due to lack of food and one-sided nutrition, important nutrients such as iron, iodine, zinc or vitamin A are missing. The consequences of hidden hunger are not necessarily visible at first glance, but in the long term the lack of nutrients leads to serious diseases. Children in particular can go mentally. Failure to properly develop physically. The risk of dying from hunger is high. Two billion people worldwide suffer from chronic nutrient deficiencies, including in industrialized countries. Hidden hunger not only harms individuals, but can stunt overall development in affected regions as people's performance and health decline.
In 2020, up to 811 million people worldwide went hungry. People. This means every 10. Person suffering from chronic hunger. © Welthungerhilfe
The impact of hunger is complex, and the causes of hunger are many and varied. Rural development has been ignored for decades. The situation is particularly bad in rural areas, where three quarters of all hungry people live. Almost all of them produce their own food. As smallholder farmers* farm an average of just 1.6 hectares, the equivalent of about two soccer fields. Less and less grazing land is available for livestock production. Indigenous peoples who traditionally feed on forest fruits and other wild plants are increasingly being forced off their land. Landless people working as day laborers at low wages are also at high risk of hunger. The World Hunger Index calculates. Assesses the global hunger situation.
Children are especially hungry. In traditional societies, they suffer severely from the consequences of structural inequalities. Women have little access to education and opportunities to earn a living. In most cases, they lack their own resources such as land or capital. At the same time, they often struggle with the double burden of field work and raising children. As a result, many children receive too little care and insufficient food. Acute food shortages and ignorance about nutrition and hygiene ies increase this risk.
Since its foundation, Welthungerhilfe has been supporting disadvantaged smallholders and landless people in their efforts to achieve sustainable agriculture.
Where there is hunger?
The World Hunger Index (WHI) provides a very accurate picture of world nutrition and hunger. To do this, it uses four indicators to measure the population's nutritional status. It has been published for more than ten years by Welthungerhilfe together with partners.
Focal points of hunger are in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. According to the World Hunger Index 2021, the hunger situation in Somalia is severe. In five other countries – Central African Republic, Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo, Madagascar and Yemen – the hunger situation is considered very serious. In some countries, there is not enough data to calculate an individual WHI score. But based on other data, the situation in four countries was found to be alarming, namely Burundi, Comoros, South Sudan and Syria.
Why there is hunger?
Facts, figures and data. The causes of hunger. Malnutrition is multifaceted. Agenda 2030 shows the way to a just world. Welthungerhilfe focuses on its core ie of food security.
Natural disasters: Weather extremes have always led to hunger crises. Droughts or floods destroy crops. With climate change, extreme weather events are on the rise. Droughts in several consecutive years weaken the resistance (resilience) of the population. They have to use up their stocks of seeds or slaughter livestock.
poverty: Hunger is primarily a consequence of poverty. Those who are poor do not have enough money for food, but also cannot care enough for their own health and invest in their children's education. Women are usually particularly disadvantaged. Only site-specific agriculture can overcome the vicious circle of poverty and hunger.
Wars endanger the food situation of the population – especially when hunger is deliberately used as a weapon of war.
Wars and conflictsArmed conflicts force people to flee their homes. They are also referred to as war refugees. They are no longer able to cultivate their fields. They often lose all their possessions. Roads and agricultural infrastructure such as irrigation systems are being destroyed. Due to limited safety, trade also suffers, food becomes scarce and expensive.
Inequality: The 2030 Agenda calls on us to leave no one behind. Despite this, inequality between rich and poor is worsening, both globally and within individual countries. One percent of the world's population owns almost half of the world's wealth. The "bottom billion" of the poor and hungry have hardly any chance to free themselves from their misery. The Food Security Standard (FSS) aims to monitor food security through greater equity worldwide.
Distorted world trade: The rich countries determine the rules of international policy. Unfair trade agreements and subsidies create market access and price advantages for companies from industrialized nations. Developing countries mainly export raw materials, with rich nations skimming off the profits. Fair agricultural trade promotes smallholder farmers and rural value chains. Welthungerhilfe gives a voice to the disadvantaged main food producers.
Poor governance: Governments in developing countries usually do not align their policies with the needs of the poorest population. There is a lack of strategies to promote agriculture in one's own country in such a way that no one has to go hungry anymore. Corruption is one of the biggest obstacles to development, land grabbing a major problem.
Waste of resources and climate change: If all people lived like the rich countries, resources such as water and soil would soon be depleted. Others have to bear the consequences: the spread of deserts, soil erosion, water shortages and extreme weather phenomena as a result of climate change are particularly noticeable in countries that already suffer from hunger and poverty.
Hunger is preventable
Why do people starve? What are the most common causes of hunger worldwide?