18,000 children die from starvation
February 17, 2007 7:15pm CST
18,000 kids die each day from hunger: UN Updated Sat. Feb. 17 2007 12:06 PM ET Associated Press UNITED NATIONS -- Some 18,000 children die every day because of hunger and malnutrition and 850 million people go to bed every night with empty stomachs, a "terrible indictment of the world in 2007," the head of the U.N. food agency said. James Morris called for students and young people, faith-based groups, the business community and governments to join forces in a global movement to alleviate and eliminate hunger -- especially among children. "The little girl in Malawi who's fed, and goes to school: 50 per cent less likely to be HIV-positive, 50 per cent less likely to give birth to a low birth weight baby," he said in an interview Friday. "Everything about her life changes for the better and it's the most important, significant, humanitarian, political, or economic investment the world can make in its future." Morris, an American businessman and former president the Indianapolis-based Lilly Endowment, one of the largest charitable organizations in the U.S., is stepping down as executive director of the Rome-based World Food Program in April after five years of leading the world's largest humanitarian organization. He said that while the percentage of people who are hungry and malnourished has decreased from a fifth of the world's population to a sixth of the population, the actual number of hungry people is growing by about 5 million people a year because of the rising population. "Today 850 million people are hungry and malnourished. Over half of them are children. 18,000 children die every single day because of hunger and malnutrition," Morris said. "This is a shameful fact -- a terrible indictment of the world in 2007, and it's an issue that needs to be solved." Morris said the largest number of malnourished children are in India -- more than 100 million -- followed by nearly 40 million in China. "I'm very optimistic that India and China are very focused on this issue," he said. "They're making great progress -- (but) need to do more. (It) needs to be a top priority." Elsewhere, there are probably 100 million hungry children in the rest of Asia, another 100 million in Africa where countries have fewer resources to help, and 30 million in Latin America, he said. As Morris prepares to leave his post, he said the two issues of greatest concern are the increasing number of impoverished people and the "very significant, growing number of natural disasters around the world." According to the World Bank, natural disasters have increased fourfold over the last 30 years, he said. That means several billion people need instant help over the course of a decade because of disasters such as the tsunami, the Pakistan earthquake, or drought in southern Africa. The response to these disasters and conflicts such as in Sudan's Darfur region and Lebanon has meant that most development aid has been used to save lives -- not to help communities prevent disasters and promote development through agricultural programs, education for children and water conservation, Morris said. The agency's biggest operation today is in Darfur, where violence and security are major problems and 2.5 million people have fled their homes and now live in camps. "Our convoys are attacked almost daily. We had a truck driver killed there at the end of last year. Our convoys coming through Chad from Libya are always at risk. When the African Union troops were there, that was very helpful. The U.N. troops will be even more helpful," Morris said. He was referring to a plan for an AU-U.N. force to be deployed in Darfur, which is awaiting approval from Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir. American diplomat Josette Sheeran will replace Morris, who plans to head home to Indianapolis. "I will work as hard as I can every day of the rest of my life to see that more resources are available to feed hungry children," Morris said. Oh man, how I feel about this is - if they have so many kids dying, why not educate their parents on birth control, and stop having all these children die? It is not against their needs or their wishes, they need to be educated.
18 Feb 07
Yes, it's true but the numbers lie. It's much worse than you think. I'm a UN peacekeeper based in Sudan before and I've seen how many kids die day by day and we couldn't do anything about it because no one in this free world is willing to help them out. We soldiers, would give away our rations just feed them. The problem with most people is they just feel sorry for them but don't have the compassion to help them. When I went back to my home country that was the topic some people were talking about, I was approached by a very wealthy man and he told me he'd make a 5 thousand dollar donation. I just told him thanks but that's not enough. Having felt offended he asked me what contribution did I give to those poor kids... I said I gave them my rations worth $100. He just laughed and said "what's my $100 rations compared to his $5,000 donation? I just replied, "it was everything I had back then, I'd starve myself everyday just to make a donation unlike you, you just open you paycheck and you think you've solved world hunger?!" My comrades and I left him.
• United States
18 Feb 07
Yes, I saw this report on the news tonight. The numbers are staggering. I do not think the situation has gotten any better over the decades - it's a terrible thing, and in this world of over-abundance it is a shame that so many have nothing.