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Fight against hunger disrupted by coronavirus-induced recession

People standing in a queue for lunch and ration in North West Delhi area during nationwide lockdown against coronavirus pandemic, on May 17, 2020.

People standing in a queue for lunch and ration in North West Delhi area during nationwide lockdown against coronavirus pandemic, on May 17, 2020.   | Photo Credit: Sushil Kumar Verma

Between 8.3 crore and 13 crore people globally are likely to go hungry this year due to the economic recession triggered by coronavirus (COVID-19), warns the State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World (SOFI) 2020 report.

Estimates drawn from data available till March 2020 show that almost 69 crore people went hungry in 2019 — up by 1 crore in 2018.

Watch | Supreme Court takes up India's hunger problem
 

The SOFI report was released on Monday in New York on the sidelines of the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development which tracks the progress of nations towards achieving Sustainable Development Goals 2030. It is produced jointly by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the UN World Food Programme (WFP) and the World Health Organisation (WHO). Its first edition was brought out in 2017

The heads of the five agencies warn that “five years after the world committed to end hunger, food insecurity and all forms of malnutrition, we are still off track to achieve this objective by 2030.”

On the rise

The report underlines that in line with findings in the previous editions, hunger continues to be on the rise since 2014 and the global prevalence of undernourishment, or overall percentage of hungry people, is 8.9%.

Asia remains home to the greatest number of undernourished (38 crore). Africa is second (25 crore), followed by Latin America and the Caribbean (4.8 crore).

According to current estimates, in 2019, 21.3% (14.4.crore) of children under 5 years were stunted, 6.9% (4.7 crore) wasted and 5.6% (3.8 million) overweight.

Healthy diet

The report highlights that a healthy diet costs more than ₹143 (or $1.90/ day), which is the international poverty threshold. The number of people globally who can’t afford a healthy diet is at 300 crore people, or more than the combined population of the two most populous countries in the world, i.e. China and India.

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Printable version | Aug 13, 2020 9:39:21 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/8-crore-to-13-crore-people-may-go-hungry-due-to-covid-induced-recession/article32095212.ece

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