The High Cost of Hunger
By Heidi Cortez, Executive Director
We have all missed a meal at one point and felt the pains of hunger. When you are hungry, it is difficult to focus on anything else. I have watched my son’s entire demeanor change the moment he gets something to eat. He instantly transforms from cranky and angry to happy and jovial. It is almost magic. While missing a meal is uncomfortable, imagine if this was a regular occurrence. Imagine how much this feeling of hunger would impact your daily life. Sadly, this is the case for millions of people in the world. It is such a problem that the United Nations has listed “zero hunger” as a sustainable development goal for the globe to reach by 2030. Here are some fast facts on hunger:
- 2 billion in the world are food insecure
- 9% of the world’s population is undernourished
- 250,000,000 are on the brink of starvation
- Half of the under-five deaths are from malnutrition
So what drives hunger around the world? The issue is not because there is not enough food. War, conflict, and instability drive hunger. You can see this now in Yemen as the war with Saudia Arabia is causing one of the largest scale humanitarian crises in the world. You can also see the worsening humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan post the Taliban takeover.
Climate challenges also drive hunger. Drought and intermittent rain patterns can prevent sustainable farming. We are currently watching this unfold in Angola as the nation faces the worst drought in forty years. Local farmers are unable to produce crops and entire food supply chains are disrupted and thwarted.
Hunger goes beyond just being hungry. It affects every other area of human flourishing and development. Hunger and malnourishment make people more susceptible to disease. When your body does not receive the proper nutrients, it will be unable to fight sickness. This leads people suffering from hunger to also suffer from several other diseases. Hunger disrupts childhood development. Children cannot learn and develop when they are hungry. Their bodies are purely focused on surviving. Adults who are hungry may not be able to work as their bodies do not have the strength. Because of this, chronic hunger disrupts countries from developing.
So, what can we do? The United Nations has several set targets that if implemented will greatly reduce the strain of hunger on the world. These targets include everything from ensuring that everyone has access to regular, nutritional food to implementing drought-resistant farming practices. Tackling hunger is a huge task and we all need to come together to fight against it. Here are a few ways you can help:
Educate yourself on the crisis. This link provides a great overview: https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/hunger/
Spread the word- post about it and tag Saving Moses!
Give to organizations that work to end world hunger. Saving Moses works in Angola and Congo to alleviate severe and moderate acute malnutrition.