Sunday, June 7, 2009

South Asia hunger back at 1960s famine levels

A United Nations report says the number of people going hungry in South Asia has jumped by 100 million in the past two years.

The UNICEF report says the global economic crisis has exacerbated poverty in a region where more than 1 billion people live on less than $2 a day.

The number of people suffering from chronic hunger in South Asia is now the same as it was 40 years ago.

The raw figures are stark. In the South Asian countries of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, one third of people are going hungry.

Almost half of all children are underweight, as regional director of UNICEF in South Asia Daniel Toole explains.

"Perhaps the most dramatic impact is that we see that there are about 100 million more people hungry in South Asia than two years ago. That's a huge change," he said.

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