Poverty and hunger are bedfellows and are inseparable when it comes identity. Hunger is the most commonly used term to describe the social condition of people who frequently experience the physical sensation of desiring food. It is therefore easier to say that when one uses the mirror of hunger poverty is always seen vividly at the periphery hence poverty can be viewed as the state of one who lacks a certain amount of material possessions or money.
Poverty has become endemic across the globe with countries striving to find solutions to this silent but yet still known killer. About 1.7 billion people are estimated to live in absolute poverty today.
About 25,000 people die every day of hunger or hunger-related causes, according to the United Nations. This is one person every three and a half seconds and most unfortunately, it is children who die most often.
Yet there is plenty of food in the world for everyone. The problem is that hungry people are trapped in severe poverty. They lack the money to buy enough food to nourish themselves. Being constantly malnourished, they become weaker and often sick.
This makes them increasingly less able to work, which then makes them even poorer and hungrier. This downward spiral often continues until death for them and their families.
A report released in May by Oxfam, a British charity, predicts that food prices will more than double in the next 20 years unless the global food system is overhauled. The report, Growing a Better Future, forecasts price increases in the range of 120–180 per cent “as resource pressures mount and climate change takes hold.” The US-based think-tank International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) projects similar increases over the same period. Newly elected FAO head José Graziano da Silva of Brazil said in June that “food prices would remain volatile for some time.”
Without doubt, Africa’s poor suffer the most from high food prices, as they rely on a few staple crops for survival. This year the Horn of Africa faces its worst drought in 60 years, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
Millions of people in Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia and Uganda will face severe food shortages. Oxfam identifies the sub-region as one of the world’s “food insecurity hotspots”. According to the UN World Food Programme (WFP), millions are threatened with starvation in eastern Mali, northern Cameroon, Chad and Niger.
So I ask again, why hunger and why Poverty? Are we going to extinguish these sufferings once and for all or we’ll wait for more people to die or a whole generation to vanish?
The time to act is now!!!
• 315 million people – one in two of people in Sub Saharan Africa survive on less than one dollar per day
• 184 million people – 33% of the African population – suffer from malnutrition
• During the 1990s the average income per capita decreased in 20 African countries
• Less than 50% of Africa’s population has access to hospitals or doctors
• In 2000, 300 million Africans did not have access to safe water
• The average life expectancy in Africa is 41 years
• Only 57% of African children are enrolled in primary education, and only one of three children complete school
• One in six children die before the age of 5. This number is 25 times higher in sub-Saharan Africa than in the OECD countries
• Children account for half of all civilian casualties in wars in Africa
• The African continent lost more than 5.3 million hectares of forest during the decade of the 1990s
• Less than one person out of five has electricity. Out of 1.000 inhabitants 15 have a telephone line, and 7.8 out of 1.000 people surf on Internet.