The number of people suffering from hunger in Latin America and the Caribbean increased by 2,4 million from 2015 to 2016, reaching a total of 42,5 million, according to a new United Nations report, the State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2017.
“Hunger is rising in Latin America and the Caribbean for the first time in the last generation. This is unacceptable and all Latin Americans and Caribbeans should feel personally offended by this setback. We cannot take a step back, putting at risk the health, well-being or even the lives of thousands of people,” according to Julio Berdegué, the Regional Representative of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).
The new data set shows that hunger in 2013 affected 39,1 million people (6,3 percent of the regional population), rising to 40,1 million in 2015 (6,3 percent) and reaching 42,5 million in 2016, 6,6 percent of the regional population.
The report notes that the prevalence of undernourishment worldwide increased to 11 percent in 2016, which means that 815 million people are suffering from hunger. The increase occurred throughout most regions of the world, with the biggest setbacks in parts of Africa and Asia.
While hunger levels remain low in Latin America and the Caribbean compared to the rest of the developing world, there are clear signs that the situation is deteriorating.
The setback was particularly strong in South America, where hunger increased from 5 percent in 2015 to 5,6 percent in 2016, which accounts for most of regional increase.
Although hunger did not grow in the Caribbean, it still has the highest prevalence of hunger in the region: 17,7 percent.
“Latin America and the Caribbean used to be a worldwide example in the fight against hunger. We are now following the worrisome global trend”, said Berdegué.
This year’s report is a joint publication by FAO, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the World Health Organization (WHO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the World Health Food (WFP).