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The British medical journal Lancet estimates 10 million children die each year from preventable illnesses. The World Health Organization (WHO) and the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) have called for renewed action with 98 per cent of those under the age of five occurring in developing countries.

Last year in Africa 30 million were people are at risk of starvation or are facing severe food shortages. This includes 14 million people in Ethiopia alone. Many African countries also face the ravages of HIV/AIDS and chronic hunger only makes people more vulnerable to this plague. Now read on for other fast facts...

  1. Every 3.6 seconds another person dies of starvation and 3/4 are children under the age of 5. Starving Children has the statistics for your country.
  2. More than 2.8 billion people, close to half the world's population, live on less than the equivalent of $2/day. More than 1.2 billion people, or about 20 per cent of the world population, live on less than the equivalent of $1/day and are at risk of starvation or know of starving people.
  3. The estimated cost of providing universal access to basic social services and transfers to alleviate income poverty and end starvation is $80 billion, which is less than 0.5 per cent of global income. (By comparison, the Iraq war and reconstruction will cost double this!)
  4. South Asia has the largest number of poor people (522 million of whom live on less than the equivalent of $1/day). Sub-Saharan Africa has the highest proportion of people who are starving, with poverty affecting 46.3 per cent or close to half of the regions' population.
  5. Nearly 1 billion people are illiterate; more than 1 billion people do not have access to safe water; some 840 million people go hungry or face food insecurity; about one-third of all children under five suffer from malnutrition.
  6. The top fifth (20 per cent) of the world's people who live in the highest income countries have access to 86 per cent of world gross domestic product (GDP). The bottom fifth, in the poorest countries racked with starvation, has about one per cent.
  7. The assets of the world's three richest men exceed the combined Gross Domestic Products of the world's 48 poorest countries.
  8. The main victims of hunger are the world's poor. The richest twenty percent eat 11 times as much meat and 7 times as much fish as the poorest twenty percent.
  9. Hunger does not only affect a small portion of the globe. Out of the six billion people living on Earth, 1.5 billion people are not able eat enough iodine and 2 billion people's diets are deficient in iron.
  10. Even when a person does not die from starvation, malnutrition still takes its toll. According to estimates, over 800 million people in the world suffer from malnutrition.
  11. One third of all children in developing countries suffer from malnutrition as a result of hunger and may be at risk of starvation related problems. Their height is below what should be for their age. Their weight less than normal. Their muscles weaker. Their visions impaired...
  12. Not only does the process of gradual starvation kill and stunt children, but it also tragically results in a potentially permanent low level of cognitive development and resistance to common illnesses.
  13. One might say that famines and wars cause most of hunger-related deaths as those events are usually given the most publicity and media-coverage. But the fact is that only ten percent of hunger deaths result from famines and wars. The stark truth is that the vast majority of hunger deaths are not in the news we see and hear. Most people starve to death through chronic malnutrition.

    *Sources: United Nations Briefing Papers Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Food First, NetAid, UNICEF, United Nations World Food Programme, World Health Organization