SPECIAL REPORTS

Globally Starving

A world in economic crisis creates a world in a hunger crisis

A child from Congo. © Rodney Rascona 2009

An Ethiopian child prays. © Rodney Rascona 2009

In the midst of a global financial meltdown, where money just doesn’t carry the way it should or the way it used to, where jobs are scarce and most must spend life without a steady a paycheck, is a global food crisis. The victims of this kind of crisis are going hungry, facing a daily battle to fill their bodies with enough nutrients in order to simply survive.

In West Africa and other developing countries worldwide, the day begins before dawn for most families with little to no food on hand; there is no full cupboard of dried and canned goods or a refrigerator with deli meats and cheese. The struggle for survival takes precedence over anything else, including working for income. Mothers, brothers, sisters, and cousins all struggle between finding food for their families and nourishing even themselves. Many only get one meal a day.

Astonishingly enough, out of 6.7 billion people total in our world today, about 963 million are hungry. Over 90-percent of the world’s hungry are victims of poverty, according to the World for World Organization (WFWO), a non-Governmental organization that operates internationally to battle world hunger and poverty.

Last year, according to the Christian-based organization, Bread for the World, the number of the world’s hungry surged from 854 million to 967 million, and every day nearly 16,000 children die from hunger-related causes.

The economic slowdown is ensuring the hunger crisis continues. Numbers of impoverished and hungry populations continue to rise due to inflation , surging food costs, and high energy prices. These factors are dominating the world’s food supply and the price we pay for it. Farmers worldwide are also struggling as they are unable to plant in large quantities due to rising costs of fertilizer.

With food prices soaring, even in the United States families are struggling to make ends meet. More and more low-to-middle income families are flooding their local food banks to find a meal. As a result, the food banks stockpiles are quickly depleting. For the world’s poorest people who spend up to 80-percent of their income to buy food, the situation is even grimmer.

According to Oxfam, a British-based aid group, approximately 119 million people are below the poverty line due to the economic meltdown, and 1 billion people live on less than one dollar a day. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimates that 36 countries still need emergency assistance for food.

“We do not see many references these days to the food crisis in the news. It has been eclipsed by economic fears. But, we are still not out of the woods. I call it our forgotten crisis – because it has not gone away,” said Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at a press conference held in New York City in February 2009. The FAO is the United Nations’ lead organization to combat hunger and malnutrition.

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This month, Join the Journey will be connecting with the global hunger crisis by hosting a day of fasting on October 22 to raise awareness and money for those that starve in this world. We are directing our membership to give on this day to Food for the Hungry, www.fh.org, an organization that has people planted over the world, implementing programs for better nutrition and crop production.