Instead of making progress on hunger globally, indicators show that the hunger crisis around the world is increasing - one out of every 6 people. Take a look at these statistics (for more information, read this article or this one:
- World hunger is projected to reach a historic high in 2009 with 1,020 million people going hungry every day.
- “A dangerous mix of the global economic slowdown combined with stubbornly high food prices in many countries has pushed some 100 million more people than last year into chronic hunger and poverty,” said FAO Director-General Jacques Diouf.
- The number of hungry people increased between 1995-97 and 2004-06 in all regions except Latin America and the Caribbean. But even in this region, gains in hunger reduction have been reversed as a result of high food prices and the current global economic downturn.
- The urban poor will probably face the most severe problems in coping with the global recession, because lower export demand and reduced foreign direct investment are more likely to hit urban jobs harder. But rural areas will not be spared. Millions of urban migrants will have to return to the countryside, forcing the rural poor to share the burden in many cases.
- While food prices in world markets declined over the past months, domestic prices in developing countries came down more slowly. They remained on average 24 percent higher in real terms by the end of 2008 compared to 2006. For poor consumers, who spend up to 60 percent of their incomes on staple foods, this means a strong reduction in their effective purchasing power. It should also be noted that while they declined, international food commodity prices are still 24 percent higher than in 2006 and 33 percent higher than in 2005.
- The number of hungry has increased from 825 million people in 1995-97, to 857 million in 2000-02 and 873 million in 2004-06.
I'm saddened that in a world with such forward thinking, progress, innovation, resources, and abilities that hunger worldwide continues to be on the increase. What's interesting to me (among a lot of things) is the interaction between poverty, globalism, trade, and their relationship to security. Often we seem so concerned about security, and yet we miss the potential problem with such glaring numbers of people in poverty. I don't want, though, to regress to merely caring for the poor and hungry because we're afraid they might revolt against global consumerism (and hence global consumerists), and I would hope that we could find it in our hearts to actually care for the poor and hungry who are our fellow human beings - our brothers and sisters.
A good and challenging Christian book that looks at issues of poverty, greed, globalism, and security and asks some great questions (not so sure about the answers) is Brian McLaren's Everything Must Change: Jesus, Global Crisis, and a Revolution of Hope.
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