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Turkey is a country with major economic influence in the Middle East, and it is ranked as the 17th most prolific economy worldwide. However, data about hunger in Turkey shows that 2.5 percent of the population is undernourished. In fact, hunger in Turkey increased marginally last year, alongside a 3.5 percent increase in poverty.

Causes of Hunger in Turkey

One major cause of hunger in Turkey is the Syrian refugee crisis. Turkey hosts more refugees than any other country in the world. With nearly 3.1 million refugees, the government has needed to provide substantial support to its newest migrants. So far, the Turkish government has provided over $10 billion to support the refugees. General migration due to poverty has also caused an increase in hunger in Turkey. In response to the high rates of migration, Turkey’s E.U. Affairs Ministry stated, “Access to food and nutrition is the most fundamental right and this right of migrants should not be violated.” 66 million people have been forced to migrate due to poverty or wars. Turkey houses 26 percent of those people in its region.

Organizations Fighting to Eradicate Hunger in Turkey

Many international organizations have partnered with the Turkish government to assist with the migrants and refugees living in the country. One such organization is the World Food Programme (WFP). The influx of Syrian refugees has put a strain on local markets and infrastructure in Turkey. The WFP has focused on providing cash assistance to refugees to stave off hunger insecurities.

The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) is another organization that has helped issues around hunger in Turkey. IFAD recognized that isolated rural villages in Turkey had a particular need for physical and social infrastructure. Many IFAD projects and loans have worked to improve rural living conditions for families, and specifically, women. Agriculture employs 45 percent of the Turkish workforce, including 90 percent of rural women working outside the home. Through IFAD’s low-interest loans and grants, it develops projects to help rural populations overcome hunger and poverty.

The Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) of the United Nations is another organization that has partnered with Turkey to do more to eradicate global hunger. Since Turkey is one of the world’s leaders in agriculture, it can promote new technologies and food availability for countries in need. In the Turkish Partnership Program, Turkey allocated $10 million towards food safety projects. Additionally, Turkey has made significant donations to the WFP. In fact, the WFP sees Turkey as one of its most generous donors. Just a few decades ago, Turkey was receiving significant assistance from the WFP to reduce hunger.

Hope on the Horizon

Even with all of these efforts, hunger in Turkey has been on a steady increase since 2015. The proportion of undernourished individuals has increased as well. Fortunately, since the 1990s, the prevalence of malnourishment in children under five has decreased. The child mortality rate in children under five-years-old due to hunger has also decreased from 14 percent in the 1980s to 1.2 percent in 2019.

Overall, the rate of hunger in Turkey was on a steady decline until the start of the Syrian refugee crisis. Despite some setbacks, Turkey’s promising history with caring for migrants and undernourished populations indicates that these rates may decrease again.

– Mimi Karabulut 

Photo: Flickr

Poetry, one of the most ancient art forms, serves as an outlet for poets to convey their most profound emotions. Poetry is magical because it paints a picture with words and navigates the reader through a flurry of feelings. While few reach glory, many poets go unrecognized or misunderstood in their pursuits. These are four poems about poverty.

Song of the Shirt

“Work—work—work!

From weary chime to chime,

Work—work—work,

As prisoners work for crime!

Band, and gusset, and seam,

Seam, and gusset, and band,

Till the heart is sick, and the brain benumbed,

As well as the weary hand.

[…]

In poverty, hunger, and dirt, And still with a voice of dolorous pitch,—Would that its tone could reach the Rich!—   She sang this “Song of the Shirt!”

This excerpt from the 19th-century poem by Thomas Hood talks about the labor exploitation of the middle class by the aristocracy. A woman works hard night and day, through tiredness and sickness, with dreams ranging from a simple meal to eternal prosperity. Unfortunately, she drowns in the pit of poverty and despite her efforts, is unable to climb out. This issue has spanned the centuries and labor exploitation remains a problem in the 21st century. Especially in developing countries where instances of trafficking and child labor are all too common. More than 150 million children are subjected to child labor around the world. The U.N. is currently working on enforcing appropriate legislation in countries to absolve the use of child labor.

Refugee Blues

“Say this city has ten million souls,
Some are living in mansions, some are living in holes:
Yet there’s no place for us, my dear, yet there’s no place for us.

Once we had a country and we thought it fair,
Look in the atlas and you’ll find it there:
We cannot go there now, my dear, we cannot go there now.

[…]

Dreamed I saw a building with a thousand floors,
A thousand windows and a thousand doors:
Not one of them was ours, my dear, not one of them was ours.

Stood on a great plain in the falling snow;
Ten thousand soldiers marched to and fro:
Looking for you and me, my dear, looking for you and me.”

W.H. Auden, a 20th-century poet, originally wrote this poem about the Jewish refugees who were seeking refugee status in the United States. The theme, however, extends beyond the grim years of World War II. At the end of 2018, there were roughly 71 million forcibly displaced people in the world. They were forced to leave due to conflict, violence or persecution. Many have not found homes or countries that are willing to take them in. Countries are beginning to pay attention. World leaders in the U.N. are working on implementing programs that will help refugees without disappointing host nations.

Poverty

I saw an old cottage of clay,

And only of mud was the floor;

It was all falling into decay,

And the snow drifted in at the door.

Yet there a poor family dwelt,

In a hovel so dismal and rude;

And though gnawing hunger they felt,

They had not a morsel of food.

The children were crying for bread,

And to their poor mother they’d run;

[…]

O then, let the wealthy and gay

But see such a hovel as this,

That in a poor cottage of clay

They may know what true misery is.

And what I may have to bestow

I never will squander away,

While many poor people I know

Around me are wretched as they.

This sorrowful poem written by Jane Taylor in the 19th century paints a vivid picture of the horrid conditions associated with poverty. Taylor writes about a family that lives in an unsafe cottage without an ounce of food. The children starve and beg for food that the mother is incapable of providing. As seen in this poem, poverty is an exclusively uphill battle. There are a million forces exerting pressure on the lives of the impoverished but many must keep persevering to survive.

More than 3 billion people in the world today are living on less than $2.50 per day. More than 1.3 billion are living on less than $1.25 per day. Hundreds of millions of children and adults are malnourished and do not have access to basic healthcare. While this is a depressing statistic, the rate of extreme poverty in the world has decreased in the last several decades.

Poor Children

“They are the future of humanity
But many of them living in poverty
And without shelter homeless on the street
Searching through rubbish bins for scraps of food to eat.
Poor children are victims of circumstance
In life they never really get a chance
Or have opportunities as privileged children do
The road from the poor suburb to prison leads them to.

[…]
Poor children without homes and sleeping rough
And life for them already hard enough
At the wrong end of the social divide
Any chance of a good future to them is denied.”

This poem by Francis Duggan, while relatively recent compared the other poems on this list of four poems about poverty, speaks volumes about the struggles associated with child poverty. Roughly one billion children are currently living in poverty and according to UNICEF; approximately 22,000 children die daily due to poverty. A pattern of malnutrition and disease weakens the body to a point of no return. Coupled with the social repercussions of impoverishment, the odds of survival are slim. A recent study revealed that children who succumbed to childhood poverty were seven times more likely to harm themselves and 13 times more likely to engage in violent crime than their more affluent counterparts.

These four poems about poverty are quite striking. They convey deep emotions and spread ideas that have been prevalent for generations. Poverty is not skin-deep; the consequences of impoverishment extend to all elements of life. It is vital that people take action against poverty by reaching out to elected officials who have the ability to implement legislation that aids those in dire need.

Jai Shah
Photo: Flickr

Hunger in North Korea

North Korea, one of the most secretive and repressive countries in the world, has faced chronic food shortages since the mid-1990s when hundreds of thousands of people died due to severe famine. The international community responded by providing food assistance until 2009 when aid began to decrease significantly due to North Korea’s policy of “self-reliance.” These 10 facts about hunger in North Korea will reveal how dire the situation is and what government initiatives and NGOs are doing to help.

10 Facts About Hunger in North Korea

  1. North Korea’s climate ranges from temperate, with rainfall during the summer, to long, bitter winters. During the short growing season, drought, heatwaves and flooding have caused crop failure, creating widespread food shortages. North Korea’s total food crop production for 2018-2019 is estimated at 4.9 million metric tons, the lowest since the 2008-2009 season, according to a U.N. food security assessment.
  2. In addition to climate conditions unfavorable for agriculture, North Korea faces a shortage of farming products such as fuel, fertilizer and equipment. This has resulted in low food supply and limited dietary diversity, forcing families to eat less or cut meals.
  3. These unfavorable climatic conditions and the worst harvest in 10 years have resulted in a hunger crisis. More than 10 million North Koreans are suffering from severe food shortages and malnutrition, according to the U.N. This equates to about 40 percent of the total population.
  4. Young children are among the most vulnerable to malnutrition. One in five North Korean children are malnourished and about 20 percent experience stunted growth. Malnutrition, contaminated water and a shortage of drugs and medical supplies are the main causes behind stunting, or a failure to develop physically and cognitively, in North Korean children.
  5. According to Kee Park of the New York Times, sanctions on the capital city Pyongyang contribute to the hunger crisis. Under U.N. resolutions, North Korea is heavily sanctioned because of its nuclear weapons program. Park writes that these sanctions are “punishing the most vulnerable citizens and shackling the ability of humanitarian agencies to deliver aid to them.” Due to sanctions on iron, textiles, seafood, oil and coal, lost income and rising food prices will result in more North Koreans facing hunger.
  6. Despite U.N. sanctions, the U.N. is attempting to raise $111 million for health, water, sanitation and food security needs for 6 million North Koreans. Through donations from Sweden, Switzerland and Canada, about 10 percent has been raised thus far.
  7. The World Food Programme (WFP) has been providing food assistance to North Korea since 1995. Every month, the WFP provides foods fortified with protein, vitamins and minerals, such as cereals and biscuits, to around one million children, pregnant women and nursing mothers, all of whom are the most vulnerable to malnutrition.
  8. In 2018, UNICEF screened 90 percent of North Korean children for malnutrition and identified cases were later treated. Vitamin A supplements were provided to more than 1.5 million children and micronutrient tablets were distributed to more than 28,000 pregnant women.
  9. First Steps is a Vancouver-based nonprofit organization that is implementing innovative solutions for fighting hunger in North Korea, such as its Sprinkles program. The program’s aim is to prevent child malnutrition by delivering micronutrient powder to children, pregnant women and nursing mothers. The powder is packaged in sachets and then added to food. According to First Steps, Sprinkles is a proven and cost-efficient method of preventing and fighting vitamin and mineral deficiencies.
  10. These various forms of assistance have made significant progress in reducing levels of child malnutrition. The percent of children suffering from stunted growth has dropped notably from 28 percent in 2012 to 19 percent in 2017.

Although there has been recent progress, immense humanitarian challenges remain. Despite the fact that vast amounts of North Korean citizens are without basic necessities, the government has declined offers to renounce their nuclear weapons program in exchange for assistance. These 10 facts about hunger in North Korea reveal why a strengthened approach to solving food insecurity is required.

Adam Bentz
Photo: Flickr

 

U.S. Companies Alleviate PovertyMany countries in Africa are still experiencing problems with disease, poverty and starvation. However, many people and organizations with the tools to help, have reached out to lend a hand. Even large American corporations such as Coca-Cola and Chevron are doing what they can to help. These companies see an opportunity to help struggling nations, that opportunity being that if these companies’ efforts succeed then Africans will no longer need to worry about these particular issues again, and could potentially become customers. Listed below are some examples of how U.S. companies are helping alleviate poverty in Africa.

Coca-Cola

In 2009, the Coca-Cola Company launched RAIN: The Replenish Africa Initiative, a program with the express purpose of bringing fresh drinking water to Africa’s poor. Since the initiative’s start, they have done work in 35 of the 55 total African countries. The program is making positive change through things like building sustainable communities, catalyzing investment in access to clean water, improving both water and sanitation access for school children and replenishing more than 2 billion liters of water back to communities and the surrounding nature. Coca-Cola’s $30 million investment paired with an additional $40+ million from their over 140 partners, looks to continue their work of bringing clean drinking water to Africa.

Chevron

Chevron has been a corporation that has shown exactly how U.S. companies can help alleviate poverty in Africa over the years through multiple donations and poverty-reducing initiatives. One of these examples includes a $50 million to the Niger Delta Partnership Initiative (NDPI), an organization that focuses on improving socio-economic conditions to the more than 30 million people living in Niger’s delta region. With Chevron’s help, the organization has been able to help nearly 4,000 people raise their annual income by 92 percent in various agricultural industries. Chevron has also made huge progress combating Africa’s HIV/AIDS epidemic by donating over $60 million since 2008. With help from Chevron’s partnerships with organizations such as Pact, Born Africa Free and The Global Fund, they have made positive changes in reducing mother-to-child transmission of the virus.

General Mills

In 2008, the famous cereal giant, General Mills, launched the Partners in Food Solutions. A nonprofit with the goal of bringing improved food production as well as food processing expertise to small and medium-sized food processors in African nations. Since its establishment, the organization has helped with food production in the African countries of Cote D’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia. The organization has also gained the support of other major U.S. companies such as Hershey’s and Cargill to further increase their influence and accomplish feats such as strengthening food security across the continent, improving the nutrition of African grown and produced foods and increasing economic development by expanding the competitiveness of Africa’s food processing sector.

These examples of how U.S. companies are helping to alleviate poverty in Africa show a growing trend by big businesses to invest in struggling communities. Not only because of the positive philanthropic impact behind their multi-million-dollar donations, but also because of the huge potential a healthy and prosperous Africa could bring to them as consumers. No matter the reason behind the initiative, however, the progress made by these seemingly unconventional donors has brought undeniable change to millions struggling to maintain basic necessities that others often take for granted.

– Alexander Capuano
Photo: Flickr

living conditions in mauritania
The country of Mauritania is located in West Africa. It encompasses a land area of 1,030,700 square kilometers and has a population of more than 4,600,000. This makes it the 11th largest African country in terms of land area and 40th in terms of population. Despite its vast size, Mauritania is experiencing a devastating food and nutrition crisis, along with a horrific drought, that is making hunger in Mauritania more acute than it has been in years. The following is a list of the top 10 facts about hunger in Mauritania.

Top 10 Facts about Hunger in Mauritania

  1. Hunger is a serious problem: According to the 2018 GHI, Mauritania ranks 88th out of 119 qualifying nations in regard to the number of malnourished citizens within its borders. It has a score of 27.3 on the GHI Severity Scale. Thus, Mauritania is in the category of other countries, like Bangladesh and Burkina Faso, with serious levels of hunger.
  2. Drought cycles: Mauritania is located in the region of Africa south of the Sahara called the Sahel. This region consists of semi-arid grassland and has provided the continent with cash crops like cotton and millet. However, the Sahel receives extremely inconsistent rainfall and has suffered cycles of drought for thousands of years. The drought the Sahel currently endures has occurred since the 70’s. Because this drought is a regional problem, the lives of millions in countries outside Mauritania – like Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Niger and Senegal – are struggling through this drought as well.
  3. Managing drought: In a national report for Integrated Drought Management, Sidi Bobba, Director of Operations and Weather Forecasting and Sid El Kheir Ould Taleb Ekhyar, General Manager of M’Pourié Farm, say that Mauritanian authorities are employing strategies to minimize the impact of Mauritania’s current drought. Some of these strategies include encouraging Mauritanians to diversify their crops and use organic manure. Other strategies are using crops that are resistant to drought and focusing on farming techniques that promote the economy of the soil water.
  4. Reliance on imports: While fish, iron, natural gas, oil, copper, wild animals and gold are all natural resources that Mauritania has in abundance, many Mauritanians specialize in farming and pastoralism. Unfortunately, these sources of income are vulnerable to environmental shock. And because 80 percent of Mauritania’s land is desert that cannot be used for agriculture, this lack of arable land, combined with drought, has made Mauritania into a nation that depends on foreign imports to feed its citizens. In a good agricultural year, 70 percent of Mauritania’s food supply is imported, but in a bad agricultural year, 85 percent is imported.
  5. Cases of acute malnutrition: In January, UNICEF reported that 130,000 children, including 32,000 children with severe acute malnutrition, would require nutritional care and treatment this year. UNICEF also reported in a Humanitarian Situation Report that 24,521 children with severe acute malnutrition (11,770 girls and 12,751 boys) were admitted for treatment throughout Mauritania. This is 76 percent of the estimated 32,244 cases of severe acute malnutrition for 2018.
  6. Pregnant women and malnutrition: UNICEF also reported that 31,000 pregnant and lactating women would require nutritional care and treatment this year. The same report that reveals the number of Mauritanian children treated for severe acute malnutrition also reveals that 32,876 pregnant and lactating women have been offered aid at community health facilities. And 4,373 pregnant and lactating women were treated for acute malnutrition.
  7. Extreme poverty: Mauritania is one of the poorest nations in the world, with a GDP per capita of $4,500. As one of the poorest countries in the world, around 25 percent of Mauritanians live on less than $1.25 per day. This extreme poverty hinders many Mauritanians from accessing health and education services.
  8. Water production: Even though Mauritania is now working towards a solution to its water shortage, the African Development Bank Group reports that Mauritania has been able to meet only half of its estimated daily drinking water requirement of 100,000 m³/day for more than a decade. Its production level is only around 55,000 m³/day from the only available aquifer in the southwestern Mauritanian city Trarza.
  9. Malian refugees: Thousands of Malian refugees, escaping the 2012 coup and civil unrest, have entered Mauritania and the ongoing conflict in Mali continues to bring even more. The UN reported that in March there were 58,000 Malian refugees in Mauritania. In addition to needy Mauritanian citizens, these refugees also rely on food assistance. The UN World Food Program (WFP) and USAID’s Office of Food for Peace (FFP) give cash-based food assistance to around 55,000 Malians who live in the Mbera refugee camp in southeastern Mauritania.
  10. Malnutrition a key issue: The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation has formed a chart that reveals the risk factors that drive the most death and disability combined in Mauritania. This chart ranks malnutrition as the chief risk factor from 2007 to 2017.

When one considers these top 10 facts about hunger in Mauritania, one might not be able to see a bright future for this country arising any time soon. But with the work of organizations around the world who are both providing aid to Mauritania and raising awareness of its food and nutrition crisis, one can hope that one day hunger in Mauritania will no longer be an issue.

– Jacob Stubbs
Photo: Flickr


With a population of nearly 35 million people, Afghanistan is the 39th most populated country in the world. Due to political instability, terrorism and economic insecurity, hunger in Afghanistan is now an extremely prevalent epidemic. Below are important facts about the state of malnutrition in Afghanistan and its possible future.

Top 10 Facts About Hunger in Afghanistan

  1. As of 2017, Afghanistan had an unemployment rate of almost 24 percent, ranking it as 194th out of 218 total countries. Additionally, 54 percent of its population falls below the poverty line.
  2. Afghanistan’s economy relies heavily on agriculture. About 23 percent of the country’s GDP consists of agriculture. Due partly to natural disasters such as localized floods, dry spells and widespread insect infestations, Afghanistan suffered from a food deficit. In fact, the 2017 crop harvest suffered a 1.5 million ton production deficit in comparison to the 2016 and 5-year average production rate.
  3. Afghanistan developed a high rate of childhood stunting, the impaired growth of a child as a result of malnutrition. In fact, the country has a 41 percent prevalence rate of moderate and severe stunting. Some consequences of stunting include poor cognition, excessive weight gain in later childhood and a higher chance of suffering from nutrition-related disease during adult life.
  4. Wasting is when an individual is considered too thin for their weight or height. It is the result of rapid weight loss or lack of weight gain. Wasting is of medium prevalence in the country of Afghanistan. In fact, between 5 and 10 percent of children in Afghanistan suffer from wasting.
  5. Breastfeeding is extremely beneficial to the growth and development of a child as breast milk meets all the nutritional needs of an infant during the first six months of life. However, only 41 percent of newborns infants receive early initiation of breastmilk in Afghanistan. This trend does not become better as time goes on, as 43 percent of Afghan children are exclusively breastfed during the first six months of life.
  6. Iodine is a mineral found only in a few foods. However, it is necessary for the body to produce thyroid hormones, which in turn regulate the body’s metabolism. Therefore, many meet their recommended amount of iodine by consuming iodized salt, which is salt fortified with iodine. However, only 57 percent of households in Afghanistan consume iodized salt – putting much of the population at higher risk for iodine deficiency disorder.
  7. Anemia is a condition in which the body lacks healthy red blood cells capable of carrying oxygen to tissues throughout the body. It is commonly caused by the lack of essential nutrients, such as iron, folate and vitamin B-12 in the body. One in three Afghan girls suffers from anemia. Prolonged anemia can result in severe fatigue, heart problems and pregnancy complications.
  8. Vitamin A consists of a group of fat-soluble retinoids necessary for immune function, vision, reproduction and cell communication. Vitamin A deficiency is highly prevalent in Afghan children aged six to 59 months. However, due to the implementation of widespread nutrition programs, 98 percent of the Afghan population now supplements for vitamin A.
  9. In response to the spread of malnutrition throughout the country, Afghanistan joined the Scaling Up Nutrition movement (SUN). In addition to 59 other countries, Afghanistan will work in a multi-sectoral and multi-stakeholder space in order to end malnutrition.
  10. By putting an end to hunger in Afghanistan, the country stands to gain other enormous benefits as a well-nourished individual tends to complete more years of school and learn better. Therefore, by reducing malnutrition, Afghanistan will be able to see a boost in its economy, growth and development.

Shreya Gaddipati


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 Republic
According 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