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The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a small nation that consists of a federation of seven emirates along the southeast end of the Arabian Peninsula. As of 2017, it is ranked as the eighth richest country in the world, mainly due to its status as a global supplier of fossil fuels. While the country is considered food secure its heavy dependence on food imports coupled with unsustainable agricultural practices and overfishing, pose unique challenges. Keep reading to learn the top 10 facts about hunger in the United Arab Emirates.

Top 10 Facts About Hunger in the United Arab Emirates

  1. In 2018, the United Arab Emirates ranked 31st in the Economist’s Global Food Security Index — in between Hungary and Saudi Arabia — with a score of 72.5 out of 100. The data showed that there has been a slight, but consistent, upward trend in food security over the past seven years in the country.  
  2. About 17 percent of children under the age of 5 in the UAE are malnourished, often resulting in stunted growth. “This figure, if compared to the Western countries, is quite high and is also significant compared to other countries in the world,” said Dr. Mohammed Miqdady, Senior Consultant Paediatric Gastroenterology at Shaikh Khalifa Medical Centre, Abu Dhabi.
  3. The economy of the UAE, and particularly the emirate of Dubai, relies heavily on the tourism industry. Many hotels and restaurants feel pressured to produce vast amounts of food for incoming tourists that often does not get eaten. Because of this, food waste is a problem in the UAE, to the extent that more than $3.54 billion worth of food is wasted in the country every year. 
  4. While the UAE is considered to be food secure, food sustainability remains an issue. Out of 67 countries ranked in the Food Sustainability Index, the United Arab Emirates ranked last in terms of overall food sustainability. The country also came in last place as it relates to food loss and waste, and eighth-to-last in terms of sustainable agriculture.
  5. Part of the problem of food sustainability stems from the lack of reliable domestic food production. Less than 5 percent of land in the United Arab Emirates is arable, and the average yearly rainfall is at only 3.85 inches per year. Because of this, nearly 90 percent of the country’s food is imported.
  6. The UAE is predicted to be one of the most vulnerable nations in the world to climate change. Experts predict that agriculture in the UAE may be affected by extreme heat, harmful insects, flooding in some areas of the country and water shortages in others. In addition, the danger of a global food crisis affecting other countries may also affect the UAE, since the country already imports most of its food.
  7. The fishing industry, that has been a consistent source of food security in the country, is on the decline. Research from the Environmental Agency in Abu Dhabi shows that 85 percent of the grouper and rabbitfish populations, two key species in the Arabian Gulf have been depleted. Other species have suffered similar depletion, including the farsh or painted sweetlips, the population of which has been reduced to 7 percent of its original size. This is assumed to be the result of rampant overfishing in the Gulf.
  8. To make matters worse for the fishing industry, many experts have begun to worry about the potential effects of global warming on fish supply in the oceans surround the United Arab Emirates. Higher temperatures and changing oxygen levels could make the ocean surrounding the UAE uninhabitable for many species. In fact, between overfishing and changing ocean climates, 30 percent of all species in the Arabian Gulf are predicted to be extinct by the end of the century. Given the importance of the fishing industry in the UAE, both the economy and the food supply of the country may be drastically affected.
  9. The UAE has turned to technology to find new solutions to an environment inhospitable to food production. One such solution is cloud seeding, a science-based process that involves encouraging water condensation and precipitation by spraying small flares of chemical compounds into the clouds. UAE meteorologists hope that cloud seeding may hold the key to increasing the country’s rainfall and making agriculture more feasible. 
  10. The United Arab Emirates has created a national plan — based on four developmental pillars — to make its way into the top 10 on the food security index by 2021. The plan includes increasing the number of agribusiness companies worldwide that involve UAE companies, improving domestic food production and reducing the amount of food waste in the country by half by 2030. The plan is also concerned with food safety and nutrition in the UAE.

If the UAE can find ways to work around the potential threats of climate change and resources being exhausted, hopefully, the country will be able to create more sustainable food sources for its citizens. 

– Keira Charles

Photo: Unsplash

Top 10 Facts About Hunger in the Syrian Arab RepublicAccording to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, 815 million people are undernourished worldwide. Of these 815 million individuals, 6.5 million (33 percent of the population) are facing food insecurity or lack reliable access to nutritious food in the Syrian Arab Republic.

Since 2011, the Syrian Civil War has caused the country’s starvation rate to double. Although various organizations continue to provide food and aid, militias prevent organizations from reaching those who need it most. Other chief contributors resulting from the war include increasing poverty rates and population displacement. To date, over four million people with over 2 million of them being children, are unable to purchase a sufficient supply of food.

Top 10 Facts about Hunger in the Syrian Arab Republic

  1. Various military actors in the war have purposefully starved Syrian civilians. The effects have disproportionately harmed vulnerable individuals such as children, the elderly and pregnant and breastfeeding women. Since militias have been using aid as a political tool, aid workers find it difficult to provide food for the hungry in conflict zones. In March 2018, Human Appeal, a humanitarian aid charity in the U.K., called on the International Criminal Court to start prosecuting those who deliberately starve civilians.
  2. A lack of security, employment opportunities and basic services have led to the world’s largest displacement crisis. In Syria, 6.3 million people are displaced while 5.3 million have taken refuge in nearby countries. While over 720,000 Syrians have returned, new displacements have arisen in northeast Syria, Hama, Aleppo and Idleb Governorates.
  3. The recent conflict in Syria has damaged the economy and pushed almost seven million people into poverty, according to the U.N. Of Syria’s population, 82.5 percent is below the poverty line while 50 percent is unemployed. Additionally, 40 percent of families report they do not have enough food.
  4. When food does become available, Syrians put themselves at risk when attempting to obtain it. According to the Save the Children Federation, there are various reports of individuals being targeted while shopping at supermarkets and local markets. Amjad, a Syrian resident, said: “The shelling happened every day…it was not always day or night, you never knew when it would happen. The clashes between the armed groups would happen all the time, too; shooting everywhere. It was impossible to go and find food.”
  5. Most food shortages have been caused by a significant increase in food prices. The price of some of the most essential food items has increased by 100 percent in recent years. Many families have become impoverished by conflict and are unable to cope. An estimated 50 percent of households have reduced their intake of daily meals and 30 percent of adults are prioritizing children by limiting their consumption.
  6. Breastfeeding mothers and babies who are not breastfed in Syria do not receive the support necessary to ensure proper nourishment for development. This puts Syrian children at risk of dying from a lack of sufficient nutrients, developing malnutrition and having limited access to medical professionals who are familiar with treating malnutrition. Without nutrients, children are also at a higher risk of getting a disease, especially with Syria’s shortage of clean water.
  7. Prior to the conflict, agriculture was the main sector of Syria’s economy and contributed 18 percent to the GDP. Since the start of the war, agriculture and infrastructure have collapsed, costing over $16 billion in damages and loss. Despite an increase in wheat production and access to farmland, crops fail to sell due to high costs.
  8. The increase in violence, road closures and proliferation checkpoints has hindered humanitarian organizations’ ability to reach various parts of the country. This limits the United Nations to only providing aid in areas not impacted by conflict. Due to these restrictions, only half of 2.4 million civilians in Aleppo, Syria received humanitarian aid in 2013. Additionally, territories controlled by the government do not always allow aid workers to access civilians despite the need.
  9. Rise Against Hunger is an organization that utilizes volunteers in their mission to end world hunger. Volunteers package numerous meals that are packed with nutrients to nourish the world’s hungry. Rise Against Hunger has served and provided the Syrian Arab Republic with almost 550,000 meals.
  10. The World Food Programme (WFP) is responding to Syria’s food crisis in various ways. WFP provides over four million people with monthly food rations and over 900 schools in Syria with nutritious snacks. WFP also offers nutrition support to mothers, breastfeeding mothers and children.

The developing country of the Syrian Arab Republic is still enduring food insecurity and a lack of humanitarian aid. The majority of the population is facing various consequences of the Syrian Civil War, making it difficult to improve their livelihoods and find food. These top 10 facts about hunger in the Syrian Arab Republic highlight the need for crucial humanitarian aid.

– Diane Adame
Photo: Flickr

Hunger in America
The United States (U.S.) is home to millions of people and considered one of the most developed countries in the world. However, hunger in the U.S. still remains a significant problem.

The National Commission on Hunger officially defines hunger as “a situation in which a member of a household does not have enough money to provide for all the needs of the family.” Families that suffer from hunger in the U.S. are struggling through many other disadvantages that come from food insecurity.

10 Facts About Hunger in America

  1. Statistically, about one in six people in the U.S.A. face hunger as one of the biggest concerns in life. For children, more than 20 percent are at risk of hunger and malnutrition. This means that about 40 million people struggle with hunger in the U.S. and 12 million children are unable to get one decent meal a day.
  2. The United States Department of Agriculture defines food insecurity as the lack of access to enough food to feed the immediate family at all times. In 2013, it was found that 17.5 million households in the U.S. were food insecure. This means that these people go day-to-day without an actual meal throughout the day.
  3. The dilemma of those with food insecurity does not stop with just choosing how to supply food. A 2014 study by Feeding America found that its members are always conflicted about what to spend their money on. This was because people have a limited amount of resources yet have other priorities in life. The study found that 69 percent of the members had to choose between food and utilities, 67 percent had to choose between food and transportation costs and 66 percent had to choose between food and medical care.
  4. Lack of nutritional food increases the number of health problems because the body is unable to protect and nurture the person. Food insecurity can lead to type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and obesity because people with food insecurity are usually without a lot of savings, and so if they had the chance to purchase and consume unhealthy food such as fast food, they would take it.
  5. Children who are unable to acquire the necessary nutrition to develop and grow properly are prone to more problems. For example, children who are deprived of food experience developmental impairments such as language and motor skills. Such impairments can also lead to children struggling in school because they are more likely to repeat a grade and display behavioral problems.
  6. Children who come from households with food insecurity can participate in school lunch programs. In a typical school day, it was found that around 70.5 percent of enrolled students receive free or reduced-price lunches through the National School Lunch Program.
  7. With 42.3 million people from the U.S. currently partaking in the program, it is evident that the people who use this program the most are those who are below the poverty line. With about 59 percent of households with food insecurity participating in federal nutrition assistance programs, these programs serve as one of the best available for those with hunger in the United States of America.
  8. One of the United States’ nutritional programs is called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which helps its participants with the cost of buying food. This aid can be done through food stamps or funds sent to those in need. In the fiscal year of 2015, an average SNAP recipient received about $4.23 a day to use for food. While this may not seem much, it is still more than what these individuals have on a daily basis, which makes a difference. Eighty-three percent of SNAP households have incomes below the poverty line — every cent counts in trying to alleviate their food insecurity.
  9. Another federal program is the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). As of 2014, WIC serves about 6.4 million infants and children under five, and 2 million women.
  10. Hunger in the U.S. prevails not because of the lack of food, but rather because some people are unable to lift themselves out of poverty and food insecurity due to the unequal income distribution. It is a true struggle to provide anything for a family without funds, so the root of the problem comes from the lack of livable income and employment opportunities.

Hunger in the U.S.

For those with the resources and means, hunger can be eliminated with a quick trip to the grocery store; however, it must be understood that is not the way of life for many citizens living among us. These facts about hunger in the U.S. show that even in developed countries, there is still a long way to go until no one suffers the pain of poverty and food insecurity.

-Jenny S Park
Photo: Flickr

Challenges Facing Refugees in SerbiaIn 2016, 65.6 million people were forced to leave their homes, and these people are known as refugees. Refugees are usually forced to leave their countries for one of three reasons: victimization, violence or war. Refugees everywhere face immense hardships, and the challenges facing refugees in Serbia are widespread.

Serbia is mainly viewed as a stop along the way for refugees hoping to reach countries in central Europe. In 2015 and the first part of 2016, over 920,000 refugees traveled to Serbia. According to the European Commission, the shutting down of the Western Balkans migration route left 4,146 refugees stranded in Serbia.

Kimmie Whicher, a student at George Mason University, traveled to Serbia on scholarship from Boren. There, she worked with a small non-governmental organization (NGO) to provide food and clothes for hundreds of refugees in a camp in Belgrade, Serbia. In the nine months that Whicher was there, her NGO grew from feeding about 300 to upwards of 800 men.

Approximately 2.6 million refugees live in camps; many of these refugees are living in extremely harsh conditions. In Whicher’s experience, here are some of the challenges facing refugees in Serbia.

1. Poor Living Conditions

One of the challenges facing refugees in Serbia is poor living conditions. According to Caritas, eight out of 10 refugees in Serbia stay in government shelters, the rest must sleep outside in public parks. Among the hardships that come with living outside is the extremely cold weather. Whicher recalled the winter weather in Serbia: “The cold is absolutely ruthless. Our organization that cooked for these men would take hot kettles of boiling water and when we tried to clean up after cooking we would pour it on the table and it would freeze the second it would hit the table.”

Winter temperatures in Serbia are often below freezing. Many refugees are left no choice but to sleep in public parks where they risk getting frostbite, among other conditions due to prolonged exposure to the cold weather. According to The Independent, many children don’t even have gloves or shoes to keep them protected from the snow.

2. No Protection by the Government

A common hardship for many refugees is the lack of safety and protection provided by the government. According to Whicher, “It was a very miserable place. A harsh reality for many of these boys was that this is the border of Europe, so when you’re living here and you’re trying to get through, if you go to a camp you’re probably going to get deported or the police are going to break your phone or take your clothes.”

3. Hunger

Another one of the challenges facing refugees in Serbia is hunger. Refugees have to scrape by on whatever they can get to eat in a day. Small NGOs such as Whicher’s can provide some meals for the refugees, but the majority of those escaping their home countries are still underfed. According to Whicher, “One hot meal a day was our motto.” In this way, organizations can begin to help refugees by providing food and clothes, but they do not have the means necessary to help every refugee.

4. Worsening Physical and Mental Conditions

Due to these hardships, refugees struggle with new or worsening sickness. Due to the freezing temperatures in the winter, refugees in Serbia suffer from frostbite. According to The Independent, in order to escape the freezing temperatures, refugees light fires in their makeshift shelters, which further leads to respiratory problems from the smoke. However, physical sickness is not the only sickness refugees endure. Whicher recalled her experience: “You would literally watch them lose their minds… We saw this one man deteriorate to the point where if he were to go back to school, he would have to be in a special education classroom.”

Despite the harsh reality for many refugees in Serbia, organizations are making great strides to improve refugee conditions. Just by supplying food and clothes to these refugees, these organizations such as the one for which Whicher volunteered, are saving the lives of many.

– Olivia Booth
Photo: Flickr

poverty in ZimbabweAfter 57 years of colonial rule, African guerilla forces wrested control of the territory that had been Southern Rhodesia since 1923. By 1980, Robert Mugabe was elected to the position of Prime Minister of Zimbabwe.

Following Zimbabwe’s independence, the economy, which was mainly supported by the agricultural industry, fell on tough times. In 2000, the government chose to instigate a policy of land redistribution from whites to native Africans. This reorganization placed the fate of the country’s economy in the hands of comparatively inexperienced farmers.

Cash crop production, once a huge contributor to the Gross Net Product, was nearly lost as a result of unyielding droughts. Additionally, those farmers who produced the dietary staple maize faced further difficulty in production, due to the government’s lack of support in areas such as water management.

To further demonstrate the severity of the country’s situation, look no further than the 72.3 percent of the population living in poverty in Zimbabwe.

Here are 10 facts to clarify the state of poverty in Zimbabwe:

  1. Since the early 1990s, roughly 20 percent of Zimbabweans have emigrated in search of greater economic prosperity elsewhere. This has left a large gap in the nation’s workforce and knowledge base.
  2. With the majority of males moving from rural agricultural towns to the cities, women are increasingly becoming single heads of household.  
  3. Poverty in Zimbabwe is mainly concentrated in the northern province of Matabeleland, and in the southeastern regions of Manicaland and Masvingo, where water is extremely scarce.
  4. As of 2015, 16 percent of Zimbabweans were food insecure, meaning they were unable to obtain nutritious and plentiful food for their families.
  5. Just 7.6 percent of farmers in Zimbabwe practice conservation agriculture, a method of soil management that ensures nutritious soil and increases crop production.
  6. Zimbabwe suffered from 12 years of sanctions imposed by the U.N. in opposition to President Mugabe’s continued rule after the disputed election of 2002. In 2015, the U.N. lifted those sanctions and offered the government $273 million in aid, which was intended for collaborative development projects.
  7. About 28 percent of children in Zimbabwe are stunted from a lack of adequate nutrition in their diets.
  8. Zimbabwe’s Gross Domestic Product has been declining since the 2008 financial crisis. In the years immediately following the crisis, it fell by 17 percent.
  9. 86 percent of households in which the woman is widowed are impoverished.
  10. 57 percent of women living in rural areas use contraceptives. The maternal mortality rate is 960 out of 100,000 births, with a dramatic increase in rural areas.

The question now is whether or not Zimbabwe will be able to improve its situation in the coming years. Unfortunately, with the economic growth rate dropping to just 0.5 percent between 2015 and 2016, there may be a need for an increase in external development aid if there is any hope of reversing the effects of poverty in Zimbabwe.

-Katarina Schrag

Photo: Flickr

Hunger in UzbekistanHunger in Uzbekistan remains a serious issue, yet it is not recognized as a national one.

Close to 75 percent of the working-class population in Uzbekistan live in rural areas, and thus the income of this stratum of the population typically remains low, which exacerbates the lack of food security. This level of poverty has its roots in Uzbekistan’s independence.

Both the domestic and foreign policy of Uzbekistan are inimical to any significant changes that would address the hunger that plagues the country. Since the main priority of such policies is to keep the ruling regime in power, securing food and combating hunger is simply not a huge priority.

Another cause of the lack of food security is the slow growth of the gross domestic product (GDP), which in recent years was as low as seven percent, which is not sufficient for the steadily increasing population.

Furthermore, the economy of Uzbekistan, in regards to agriculture, is largely confined to producing cotton. This lack of diversification exposes Uzbekistan to increased economic risk. This problem is exacerbated by rising food prices as well.

Despite all of these indicators painting a bleak picture of Uzbekistan in the long run, recent reports have shown a decrease in hunger. From 2000 to 2014 the number of undernourished Uzbeks were reduced to less than half of what they previously were. Currently, this number is at around 1.7 million. While much work has to be done, this is a great improvement.

Additionally, unlike the GDP, the rate of agricultural production increased gradually at about 6 percent every year from 2000 to 2007. Furthermore, the wheat production grew nine-fold from 1991 to 2006. These stark improvements are largely a result of the isolationist approach Uzbekistan has adopted in terms of its foreign policy, which has both its pros and cons.

One of downsides that the Uzbeks have experienced as a result of this foreign policy has already been mentioned: the aversion of the rigid regime to take chances that may benefit its population but would otherwise risk its own stability, such as lifting restrictions on trade. The pros of this are increased self-sufficiency that has spurred the growth in certain aspects of the agricultural sector.

There is much work that needs to be done in order to reduce hunger in Uzbekistan. The country has improved in some ways but further work is needed in order to develop a sustainable model that adequately addresses the needs of the citizenry.

– Mohammad Hasan Javed

Photo: Flickr

 

Honduras

Honduras is the second poorest country in Central America, with more than 66 percent of the population living in poverty. In rural areas, it is even worse, with about one in five Hondurans living on less than $1.90 per day. Poverty in Honduras has been exacerbated by several issues.

 

Here are four main causes of poverty in Honduras:

 

Hunger and Malnutrition

Honduras has a population of over nine million people, yet hunger proves to be a severe issue, with over 1.5 million facing hunger at some point each year.  Chronic malnutrition also proves to be a tremendous problem; approximately 49 percent of people living in rural areas experience malnutrition, with a stunting rate of 34 percent. According to the World Health Organization, stunting refers to a child being too short compared to the Child Growth Standards median. The stunting rate is largely related to frequent hunger and chronic malnutrition.

Natural Disaster and Drought

Honduras is considered to be one of the most vulnerable countries to natural disasters. Hurricanes, heavy rain, flooding and frequent drought often destroy crops. Rural populations are severely dependent upon agriculture, as a source of livelihood and food security. The country’s GDP also relies heavily on agriculture, as its two main exports are bananas and coffee. In times of severe weather conditions or natural disaster, many vulnerable populations are at risk for hunger and food insecurity, which in turn continues to perpetuate poverty in Honduras.

High Unemployment

High unemployment rates have also contributed to the causes of poverty in Honduras. As of 2016, unemployment rates were at nearly 15 percent, which is more than triple the unemployment rate in the United States. Unemployment often increases the risk of poverty, as individuals are not able to adequately provide for themselves or their families.

Violence

Honduras has the highest murder rate in the world, with 59 murders per 100,000 inhabitants in 2016. This high rate of violence costs an estimated 10 percent of the annual GDP. The prevalence of violence and homicide is largely related to drug trafficking and gang warfare. Crime and violence often negatively impact the economy, as resources that could be used elsewhere to provide additional food security or a better educational system are instead allocated to deal with the issue of crime. This, in turn, perpetuates poverty in Honduras.

While the causes of poverty in Honduras appear to be deeply rooted in a variety of issues, many organizations such as the World Food Programme have provided support and services to people in need by providing well balanced meals to school children, food to vulnerable populations following a natural disaster as well as creating a program called Purchase for Progress. This a poverty reduction effort that supports agricultural production for small-scale farmers, encouraging Hondurans to buy local products while also helping to lower unemployment rates and provide farmers an opportunity for greater financial security. These efforts, coupled with a greater sense of awareness, can help to reduce poverty in Honduras.

Sarah Jane Fraser

Photo: Flickr

Poverty Rate in NigerNiger made American and world news recently for the ambush that killed four U.S. Army Green Berets operating alongside Nigerien troops in October. The World Bank puts the poverty rate in Niger at 48.9, and in 2015 it ranked dead last out of 188 countries in the United Nations Development Index. 76 percent of Nigeriens live on less than $2 a day.

The region of Africa that Niger occupies is home to several armed groups loyal to al-Qaeda or the Islamic State. A group affiliated with the latter is the primary suspect behind the October 4 attacks that killed the U.S. servicemen. Violence, both within and without, has always been a factor contributing to the poverty rate in Niger. In 2015, Niger approved the deployment of 750 troops to neighboring Nigeria to combat the Islamist group Boko Haram. In retaliation, Boko Haram has increased its operations in Niger.

The conflict has also created a refugee situation. About 115,000 people from neighboring Nigeria have relocated to Niger, primarily to the Niger’s Diffa region, which is already known for having a strained food supply.

Another tragic factor contributing to the poverty rate in Niger is teenage pregnancy and child brides. Half of the girls in Niger are married before age 15. Many of these unions are forced marriages. Polygamy is also common in Niger. The extremely young age at which many Nigerien girls give birth and the high numbers of children many mothers have are creating a population boom that could increase the poverty rate in Niger if not handled carefully.

These facts may present a grim picture of Niger, but there are efforts being made to reduce the poverty rate in Niger. Mobile fertility clinics have given Nigerien women education and access to birth control that they would otherwise not have. Many communities also have “husband schools” to educate men on birth spacing and population control, so that they are knowledgeable about these issues and can come to an agreement with their wives to have fewer children.

The agriculture sector also has shown improvements in recent years and has driven Niger’s economy. Less than a third of Niger’s usable land is currently being farmed. Combined with better farming techniques, this could lead to much higher food production. These steps may seem small on their own, but with combined efforts they can make a major difference in the lives of Nigeriens.

Andrew Revord

Photo: Flickr

Hunger in UruguayUruguay is a medium-sized country on the south-east coast of South America with a population of just under 3.5 million people. According to the World Bank, “Uruguay stands out in Latin America for being an egalitarian society and for its high per capita income, low level of inequality and poverty and almost complete absence of extreme poverty.”

Uruguay has high levels of equality providing access to services such as healthcare, education and sanitation to the majority of its citizens. Approximately 60 percent of its population is middle class, and its governance structures have low levels of corruption and institutional instability. In 2016, the rate of remote poverty was 9.4 percent, and the rate of extreme poverty was 0.2 percent but although they have low poverty rates, hunger is still prevalent in the country.

In discussions of poverty and equality, food security and access to nutritional food is an important piece of the puzzle. Below are five facts about hunger in Uruguay.

  1. In 2017, Uruguay’s Global Hunger Index (GHI) score was less than five, down from 9.7 in 1992. The GHI score is calculated based on four indicators. The first is undernourishment, which is the share of the population who have an insufficient daily caloric intake. The second is child wasting, which is the share of children under the age of five who are underweight relative to their height. The third is child stunting, which is the share of children under the age of five who are short relative to their age. Lastly, child mortality, which is the mortality rate of children under five.
  2. The Food and Agricultural Organization of the UN (FAO) has a presence fighting hunger in Uruguay. Their approach tackles hunger from several angles in order to address every facet and source of the problem. They have implemented policies to improve competitiveness in value chains, to improve land planning and natural resource management, to develop the fisheries sector, to increase health and food safety, to develop food security and family farming in rural areas and to increase cooperation among countries in the “South.”
  3. The depth of hunger is a measure of hunger in a country, it is the intensity of food deprivation based on the number of average kilocalories (per person, per day) consumed by citizens being below the desired level. In 2008, the depth of hunger in Uruguay was 140 kilocalories per day. While this is not ideal, it is relatively low, as it is below 200 kilocalories per day.
  4. Overall, the number of people who are undernourished in Uruguay is 200,000, which is approximately five percent of the total population. The prevalence of malnutrition is at 4.5 percent.
  5. There are other important indicators of hunger in Uruguay besides statistics that report solely about hunger and undernourishment/malnourishment. For example, the prevalence of anemia indicates overall nutrition. The prevalence of anemia among women between the ages of 15 and 49 is 17.4 percent and 23.6 percent among children. The percentage of children that are exclusively breastfed during the first six months of life is also important. Just over 65 percent of infants in Uruguay are exclusively breastfed during that time period.

While organizations like the FAO maintain the belief that no person should lack access to food and adequate nutrition and so remain in Uruguay to fight hunger, Uruguay is still one of the leaders, in its region, for hunger and poverty rates.

Olivia Bradley

Photo: Flickr

Hunger in Equatorial Guinea
Equatorial Guinea stands out in Africa as the only nation on the continent that speaks Spanish. It is also unique in its fight against hunger in Africa, even as hunger in Equatorial Guinea itself persists.

The country made news for making the first donation of $30 million to the Africa Solidarity Trust fund, created in 2013. The fund is intended to promote development in neighboring countries. It is not intended to supplant existing aid programs, but make rural African communities more resistant to drought and natural disasters that often lead to food shortages.

This is not to say that hunger in Equatorial Guinea does not exist and is not a consistent issue there. On the contrary, the country’s social safety net is weak, despite the fact that a good number of Guineans are subsistence farmers. About 17.5 percent of the population, or 1.9 million people, are food insecure. Furthermore, natural disasters such as flooding are a continual threat to agriculture.

Additionally, the 2014 Ebola outbreak exacerbated a number of issues in the country, including ethnic tensions and economic inequality. Equatorial Guinea also has a refugee crisis brought on by the instability of some of its neighbors, causing about 4,800 refugees to relocate to the country and putting an extra strain on food and resources.

Income inequality is another less-discussed contributor to hunger in Equatorial Guinea. While the country has a wealth of oil, diamonds and gold, the riches generated from these resources have mostly stayed with the most wealthy members of Guinean society, including authoritarian president Teodoro Obiang. Obiang’s tenure has been marked by political repression and a dim record on human rights.

One of the biggest issues Equatorial Guinea has faced is a lack of visibility to the wider world. Activists are hoping to bring the country’s situation to light, and by extension hunger in Equatorial Guinea. The writer and intellectual Juan Tomas Avila Laurel has written the president of the Spanish legislature requesting that Spain help Equatorial Guinea transition to democracy. Spain and France have brought several corruption cases against members of the government, including one of Obiang’s sons.

Hunger in Equatorial Guinea, exacerbated by corruption, remains a serious issue. Still, it is clear that the situation no longer persists in the dark, and the attention of the world is now on this African nation.

Andrew Revord

Photo: Flickr