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The Economy and the Global Hunger Crisis
With the world economy in a downturn, we can not forget the people who are dealing with the crisis who started in a crisis: the poor of the developing world. A sixth of the world’s population is facing devastating hunger. The slow progress against hunger in the past is now starting to decline.
Reported in a recent article in Market Watch, the World Bank acknowledges that, “For those already struggling to meet their daily food and nutrient needs, the double shock of food and fuel prices rises represents a threat to basic survival. The poorest households are reducing the quantity and/or quality of the food, schooling, and basic services they consume, leading to irreparable damage to the health and education of millions of children.”
The chairman of the African Union fears that aid to developing countries will be cut because of the economic problems with donor countries. Currently the proportion of the U.S. budget that funds poverty-focused development assistance is less than one-half a percent.
Countries like Zimbabwe will be facing a humanitarian crisis by the end of the year without additional aid from donor countries, leaving an estimated 3.8 million people as food insecure, reports IRIN. The planting season begins soon in Zimbabwe yet the farmers have neither seed nor fertilizer to grow food and the foreign exchange crunch has contributed to their difficulties in importing these needed resources. The World Food Program made an emergency appeal today for $140 million.
IRIN also reports that Ethiopia opened schools for a new academic year but have few students. According to the report, parents are not sending their children because, “there was little or nothing to eat at home.” Drought and increased food prices have devastated the ability for the poor to get access to the basic nutrients they need to survive in southern and western Ethiopia.
Note: For an analysis of how the U.S. economic crisis will affect developing countries read an earlier blog in Institute Notes by Charles Uphaus.
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