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World hunger rises with conflicts and climate change

Number of hungry people in the world hit 815 million in 2016, FAO report says

Anadolu Agency

World hunger rose by almost 5 percent year-on-year in 2016 due to an increase in violent conflicts and climate-related shocks around the world, according to an UN report released Friday.

The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2017 report estimated that the number of chronically undernourished people in the world rose to 815 million, i.e. 11 percent of the world population in 2016, up from 777 million the previous year.

The FAO estimated in the report that 20 percent of Africa's population (more than 243 million) was affected by hunger during the same period.

It added that 11.7 percent of Asia's population (almost 520 million) and 6.6 percent of Latin America and the Caribbean (more than 42 million) did not have access to sufficient food.

Conflicts along with climate change were key drivers in the resurgence of hunger and many forms of malnutrition, the report said.

"The food security situation has worsened in particular in parts of sub-Saharan Africa, South-Eastern Asia and Western Asia, and deteriorations have been observed most notably in situations of conflict and conflict combined with droughts or floods," read the report.

The report showed that 60 percent of chronically food insecure and malnourished people -- 489 million -- lived in countries affected by conflict.

The prevalence of hunger in conflict zones was 1.4 to 4.4 percentage points higher than in other countries, the report showed. This ratio is 11 and 18 percentage points higher in conflict situations "compounded by conditions of institutional and environmental fragility".

The report pointed out that people living in countries affected by prolonged crises were nearly 2.5 times more likely to be undernourished than those living elsewhere.

The report also revealed that some 155 million children under five years old found their growth stunted. Of these children, 122 million live in countries affected by conflict.

The number of overweight children and obese adults stood at 41 million and 641 million, respectively, according to the report.

Some 612 million -- 33 percent -- women of reproductive age suffered from anaemia, it added.

"These trends are a consequence not only of conflict and climate change but also of sweeping changes in dietary habits and economic slowdowns," the report said.

The joint report was prepared by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) the World Food Programme (WFP) and the World Health Organization (WHO).

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