Which Regions and Countries are Most Affected by Severe Hunger?
The fight to end hunger is a global effort because every part of the world is affected by it. This even includes the United States, where obesity, the result of improper nourishment, is more of a problem than undernourishment.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture, approximately 33.8 million Americans (a little more than 10% of the population) don't have enough food to eat.
Hunger is far more prevalent in other regions and countries. The Food and Agriculture Organization reports that while the hunger rate in North America and Europe is less than 2.5% of the population, the percentage is much higher in other regions:
- Hunger in Asia affects 424.5 million people (9.1% of the population).
- Hunger in Africa affects 278 million people (20.2% of the population).
- Hunger in the Latin America/Caribbean region affects 56.5 million people (8.6% of the population).
The World Food Programme (WFP) adds that 70 percent of the world’s hungriest people live in these 10 countries, in descending order of hunger prevalence:
- The Democratic Republic of Congo
- Syrian Arab Republic
- South Sudan
We are facing hunger on an unprecedented scale, food prices have never been higher, and millions of lives and livelihoods are hanging in the balance. ... Together, we can build a safer, more resilient and inclusive world – and banish the scourge of famine and starvation once and for all. But we must act now. — Antonio Guterres, Secretary-General, United Nations
What are the Long-Term Effects of Hunger?
The body depends on vital nutrients from food to fuel basic human functions. Over time, the side effects of malnutrition can be severe. This is especially true in hungry children, whose immune systems aren't as developed and who have less fat and muscle reserves. The body draws from those reserves when it doesn't get the nutrition it needs from food.
The consequences of hunger can be life-altering, from greater susceptibility to infection to impaired brain function. In some cases, tragically, hunger can be life-ending.
These are just some of the long-term effects of hunger:
- Seizures caused by vitamin deficiencies.
- Potential to develop asthma.
- Increased chance of rickets, a bone disorder caused by insufficient vitamin D.
- Fatigue and tiring out more easily than those who are properly nourished.
- Less likely to finish school due to adverse effects on mental development.
How Does Compassion International Address the Issue of Hunger?
We partner with local churches around the world to implement early intervention health and nutrition initiatives. These provide individualized care and attention for millions of children affected by poverty.
Our frontline church partners are trained to identify child hunger and take immediate action to address it. Often, this hunger relief involves providing emergency feeding and vitamins for severely malnourished children as well as working with caregivers to address long-term wellness and ensure that meals at home meet nutritional needs.
Our church partners also provide children with regular nutritious meals and snacks on program activity days. They teach the children about the importance of a balanced diet and ways to eat healthy outside of program activity days.
How Is Compassion International Fighting the Crisis of Global Hunger and Food Insecurity?
Based on current global food crisis and hunger forecasts, Compassion anticipates an exceptionally critical, widespread need among the children and families in our care for both short-term and long-term food insecurity interventions.
In the short term, Compassion provides food packages and/or cash transfers to families with low household food security.
Compassion supports long-term sustainability of food access by equipping families in rural areas with seeds, fertilizer, livestock and training on how to build and maintain home gardens, as well as how to increase harvest through small family farming efforts.
Caregivers and youth in urban areas are provided income-generation training and opportunities to earn a sustainable living, helping eliminate lack of economic access and other financial causes of food insecurity.
Relief supplies are distributed through partnership with local churches, which means aid is delivered by neighbors to neighbors. When help arrives, it’s a familiar face at the door.
Compassion’s local church partners also provide routine healthcare and screenings for children so they can respond immediately to new or developing nutritional needs.
Our local partners use mobile money transfers to send cash directly to families. It’s secure, discrete, cost-effective and dignified way to get food assistance to those who urgently need it.
These initiatives help families return to normal so children can experience healthy development and thrive in their effort to achieve their God-given potential.
Join other food heroes to help address life-threatening hunger needs caused by the global food crisis and to provide:
- Food kits that include essentials like rice, eggs, meat, milk, corn and other nonperishable dry goods.
- Medical therapeutic feeding for babies, children, youth, caregivers and siblings.
- Nutrition assistance for pregnant mothers and infants.
- Preventive and income-generating activities that help address food insecurity long term.
Our actions are our future! Please donate today to help families affected by the global food crisis.