On Hunger

Everyone feels hungry on a daily basis. Most people are able to satisfy this craving and need. Even if not immediately, they can count on having a meal or snack within hours. This is not the type of hunger that Saint Augustine Society is concerned with.

Our Society focuses its efforts on those who suffer chronic hunger and have no option of eating when they are hungry. We are eager to help those who do not get enough calories, essential nutrients, or both. We are well aware that those who are hungry have an ongoing problem with getting food to eat. They have a primary need; how to feed themselves and their children today and tomorrow. They have little energy for anything else. Those are the individuals that Saint Augustine Society was founded for, to serve and to help them.   

Our understanding to hunger?

According to the UN Hunger Report 2017, hunger is the term used to define periods when populations are experiencing severe food insecurity—meaning that they go for entire days without eating due to lack of money, lack of access to food, or other resources.

Key facts about global hunger today:

Around the world, more than enough food is produced to feed the global population—but 815 million people go hungry each year. After steadily declining for a decade, world hunger is on the rise, affecting 11 percent of people globally. There were an estimated 775 million undernourished people in 2014 – a record low - but that number increased to 815 million in 2016.

Before this increase in recent years, the world had been making significant progress in reducing hunger. In fact, in 2000, world leaders joined the United Nations and civil society in committing to meet eight Millennium Development Goals by 2015: the first of which was “to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger.”

In 2015, the UN published a report charting the world’s progress against achieving that goal.

The proportion of undernourished people in the world has declined from 15 percent in 2000-2004 to 11 percent in 2014-2016.

About 815 million people globally are undernourished, down from 947 million in 2003.

The rate of stunting (children too short for their age as a result of chronic malnutrition) fell from 33 percent of children under age five in 2000 to 23 percent in 2016.

In 2015, world leaders charted a new set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The second of these is to “end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture” by 2030.

What causes hunger?

Hunger is strongly interconnected with poverty, and it involves interactions among an array of social, political, demographic, and societal factors. People living in poverty frequently face household food insecurity, use inappropriate care practices, and live in unsafe environments that have low access to quality water, sanitation, and hygiene, and inadequate access or availability to health services and education—all of which contribute to hunger.

Conflict is also a key driver of severe food crises, including famine—a fact officially recognized by the UN Security Council in May 2018. Hunger and under nutrition are much worse when conflicts are prolonged and institutions are weak. The number of conflicts is on the rise, some worsened by climate-related shocks. People and organizations working to combat hunger must take conflict-sensitive approaches, much more so than in the past.

Weather-related events, in part associated with climate change, have also impacted food availability in many countries and thus contributed to the rise of food insecurity. Economic downturns in countries dependent on oil and other primary-commodity export revenues has also affected food availability and decreased people’s ability to access food.

Hunger Fast Facts:

There is more than enough food produced in the world to feed everyone on the planet.

815 million people worldwide go to bed hungry each night. 

Small farmers, herders, and fishermen produce about 70 percent of the global food supply, yet they are especially vulnerable to food insecurity – poverty and hunger are most acute among rural populations.

Conflict is a major driver of hunger: The UN estimates that 489 million of 815 million undernourished people and 122 million of 155 million stunted children live in countries affected by conflict.

An estimated 17 million children under the age of five worldwide suffer from severe acute malnutrition, also known as severe wasting, yet only 20 percent of severely malnourished children have access to lifesaving treatment.

The 2018 Global Report on Food Crises provides the latest estimates of severe hunger in the world. An estimated 124 million people in 51 countries are currently facing Crisis food insecurity or worse.  Conflict and insecurity continued to be the primary drivers of food insecurity in 18 countries, where almost 74 million food-insecure people remain in need of urgent assistance.

Last year’s report identified 108 million people in Crisis food security or worse across 48 countries.  A comparison of the 45 countries included in both editions of the report reveals an increase of 11 million people – an 11 percent rise – in the number of food-insecure people across the world who require urgent humanitarian action.

Key facts and figures 

Number of hungry people in the world in 2017: 821 million or 1 in every 9 people

in Asia: 515 million

in Africa: 256.5 million

in Latin America and the Caribbean: 39 million

Children under 5 affected by stunting (low height-for-age): 150.8 million (22.2%)

Children under 5 affected by wasting (low weight-for-height): 50.5 million (7.5%)

Children under 5 who are overweight (high weight-for-height): 38.3 million (5.6%)

Percentage of women of reproductive age affected by anaemia: 32.8%

Percentage of infants aged below 6 months who were exclusively breastfed: 40.7%

Adults who are obese: 672 million (13% or 1 in 8 adults).