The 2018 Global Hunger Index (GHI) - jointly published by Irish aid agency Concern Worldwide and German charity Welthungerhilfe – found that despite an overall 28 per cent drop in hunger levels across the world since 2000, they have worsened in many nations.
This major study examined 119 countries and found that 51 have levels of hunger that are serious or alarming with Central African Republic singled out as the only nation with an “extremely alarming” level of hunger, which is the result of an ongoing conflict that has destroyed livelihoods and left millions of people displaced.
South Asia and Africa, south of the Sahara, are highlighted as regions of the world with the most alarming levels of hunger.
Concern’s Chief Executive, Dominic MacSorley, said: “It is staggering that 124 million people are suffering today from acute hunger and, in some cases, starvation.
“This is an increase from 80 million two years ago. That means more people on the ground are dying from preventable causes, mostly conflict. And the majority of those who die are children.
“Too often, we are drawn away from any focus on root causes and toward misleading representations of a global crisis.
“Instead, we must work to tackle the political factors that lead to hunger and displacement including conflict.
“Hunger and forced migration are painful realities for millions, but they are not inevitable. This drastic state of affairs has yet to spur the kind of political leadership and action that is so urgently needed.
“More worryingly, we are seeing the issue of migration become a lightning rod for new political discourse that is increasingly more hard-line than humanitarian.
“This year’s GHI is not just a renewed call to action on hunger and forced migration, but an urgent wake-up call for a resurgence of humanity in how we address the shocking truth that in a world of plenty, millions of people still go to bed hungry each night.
“In 2015, the world’s countries committed to achieving zero hunger by 2030. We are not on track to meet that goal. Hunger is political and progress is possible.”
The six countries ranked with alarming levels of hunger in the new GHI are Chad, Haiti, Madagascar, Sierra Leone, Yemen and Zambia while some of the 45 countries ranked with serious levels of hunger include Afghanistan, North Korea, Kenya, Iraq, Myanmar and Bangladesh.
There were thirteen countries where no GHI scores could be calculated for the study and in seven of those countries, including Somalia, South Sudan, and Syria, Concern Worldwide and Welthungerhilfe determined that missing data was a cause for significant concern.