As of 2016, Fiji, a country in Oceania, consists of more than 300 islands and is home to more than 915,000 people. Hunger in Fiji is one of the nation’s leading problems, posing a threat to the large population. Here are five facts about hunger in Fiji.
- According to Half United, an organization committed to fighting hunger in many countries, more than 250,000 people live in poverty. This number equates to one in every four people struggling to put food on the table.
- More than 50 percent of the population has access to safe drinking water, and even fewer have access to adequate sanitation. Conditions have advanced, as more than 95 percent of the total population has reportedly experienced improved drinking water sources and more than 91 percent of the total population has seen improved sanitation facility access.
- The strongest tropical cyclone hit Fiji in February 2016, killing 43 people and declared a national emergency. The cyclone resulted in the washing away of crops and left thousands of residents homeless. With such detrimental effects, Cyclone Winston has contributed significantly to hunger in Fiji.
- According to a UNICEF report, under-five malnutrition exists as an “indicator of poverty and hunger.” The rate of undernourished children in Fiji has declined from 15 percent in 1980 to six percent in 2009. Reducing the prevalence of under-five malnutrition remains a priority of the government in order to eradicate poverty and hunger in Fiji.
- Young girls are nearly twice as likely to be stunted as boys as a consequence of long-term insufficient nutrient intake. Stunting is defined as low height for age and often results in delayed motor development, impaired cognitive function and poor school performance.
Poverty and hunger continue to affect the people of Fiji, but fortunately, organizations such as The World Food Programme (WFP) and Half United provide vulnerable families with the necessary assistance and resources to get back on their feet.
– Mikaela Frigillana