‘Critical’: Hunger rises 30% in Latin America since 2019, says UN

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A UN official says Latin America and the Caribbean are facing a dire situation in terms of food security.

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Describing the situation as “serious”, a coalition of UN agencies said the number of hungry people in Latin America and the Caribbean has risen 30 percent since 2019 to its highest level in 15 years.

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Five UN agencies said more than 59 million people across the region are currently not getting enough to eat, an increase of 13.8 million people in just one year. Regional Overview of Food Security and Nutrition 2021 Report published on Tuesday.

Agencies said more than nine percent of people in Latin America and the Caribbean are going hungry.

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“We must say this loud and clear: Latin America and the Caribbean are facing a dire situation in terms of food security,” Julio Burdeg, a regional representative of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, said in a statement. Huh.” “The number of people living in hunger has increased by about 79 percent from 2014 to 2020.”

The coronavirus pandemic “has exacerbated the situation”, said Rossana Polastri, regional director of the United Nations’ agricultural bank International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).

In Brazil, the region’s largest and most populous country, some 19 million people have gone hungry during the pandemic, according to a study published earlier this year, while some 117 million – more than half the country’s population – level of food insecurity. ,

The UN report said that four out of every 10 people in Latin America and the Caribbean – 267 million people – experienced moderate or severe food insecurity in 2020, with people starving in absolute terms.

This is 60 million more people than in 2019, an increase of nine percentage points, the UN said, “the most obvious increase with respect to other world regions”.

UN agencies also said that women in Latin America and the Caribbean have been more affected by hunger than men.

In 2020, 41.8 percent of women in the region experienced moderate or severe food insecurity, compared to more than 32 percent of men. Gender inequality has been increasing over the past six years; It rose sharply from 6.4 percent in 2019 to 9.6 percent in 2020, the United Nations said.

Still, hunger is less prevalent in Latin America than in other parts of the world, UN agencies said.

Globally, 11 people die of hunger every minute, according to a July report by the charity Oxfam, which found that the number of people facing famine-like conditions has increased six-fold in the past year.

Latin America and the Caribbean also continue to show improvements in reducing stunting in children – a product of chronic malnutrition – the UN report said, although progress has been slow since the start of the pandemic.

United Nations agencies said the regional prevalence of wasting among children is 1.3 percent, well below the world average of 6.7 percent.

United Nations agencies said that with increasing hunger, one out of every four adults in Latin America and the Caribbean – 106 million people – suffers from obesity. This figure shows an increase of 9.5 percent in the Caribbean and more than seven percent in South America between 2000 and 2016, the report said.

“In Latin America and the Caribbean, COVID-19 has made an already existing malnutrition crisis worse,” said Jean Gough, regional director of the United Nations Children’s Fund UNICEF. “As services are disrupted and livelihoods devastated, families are finding it harder to keep healthy meals on the table, leaving many children hungry and others overweight.”

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