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One billion are hungry

June 30, 2009

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  <span class="field-credit">
    Thatcher Cook for Mercy Corps  </span>
    The number of people suffering from hunger now totals one billion worldwide. Photo: Thatcher Cook for Mercy Corps

Last week the UN announced that the number of people suffering from hunger now totals one billion worldwide.

Not too surprisingly, a BBC article points out that the vast majority of the world's hungry live in developing countries. Only 15 million are in the developed world. In contrast, 265 million live in sub-Saharan Africa and more than two times as many — 642 million to be exact — live in the Asia-Pacific region.

Since the economic crisis hit, there are about 100 million more people that are hungry. The UN attributes this rise in world hunger to unemployment and low wages. This is turn hurts people's ability to buy and grow food.

Jacques Diouf, the director general of the UNFAO, focused on agricultural investment as one of the solutions to help developing countries address hunger issues. Diouf is quoted by the BBC as saying, "Investment in agriculture must be increased because for the majority of poor countries a healthy agricultural sector is essential to overcome poverty and hunger and is a pre-requisite for overall economic growth."

At a time when need has never been greater, Mercy Corps has been able to expand our capacity to address hunger in the communities where we work.