Record 1 billion people going hungry

Issue 

The British Morning Star said on June 21 that the United Nations has warned that the global financial meltdown has pushed the ranks of the world's hungry to a record 1 billion. The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) said this is an increase of 11% from last year.

The financial meltdown has compounded the crisis, described by FAO director-general Jacques Diouf as a "devastating combination for the world's most vulnerable".

There are 100 million more people who are hungry, meaning they consume fewer than 1800 calories a day, the FAO said.

Diouf said that "all world regions have been affected by the rise of food insecurity".

Josette Sheeran of the World Food Programme, another UN food agency, said hungry people had rioted in at least 30 countries last year. Soaring food prices led to deadly riots in Haiti.

Sheeran said: "Without food, people have only three options — they riot, they emigrate or they die. None of these are acceptable options."

On average, food prices were 24% higher in real terms at the end of 2008 compared to 2006, the FAO said.