Latin America and the Caribbean are facing a critical situation in terms of food security, according to the UN official.
The number of people starving in Latin America and the Caribbean has risen by 30% from 2019 to a 15-year high, a coalition of United Nations agencies said the situation is “critical”.
It currently has more than 59 million people across the region they don’t get enough to eat, 13.8 million more people a year, five UN agencies said Overview of Regional Food Safety and Nutrition 2021 report released on Tuesday.
They make up more than nine percent of people in Latin America and the Caribbean going hungry, agencies said.
“We must say clearly and loudly that Latin America and the Caribbean are facing a critical situation in terms of food security,” said Julio Berdegue, a regional representative of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), in a statement. “The number of people living with hunger from 2014 to 2020 has risen by almost 79 percent.”
The coronavirus pandemic “It has exacerbated the situation,” added Rossana Polastrri, the regional director of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the UN agricultural bank.
In Brazil, the largest and most populous country in the region, about 19 million people have been starving during the pandemic, according to one. research published earlier this year, while nearly 117 million — more than half of the country’s population — live with some level of food security.
Along with people who are going through hunger in absolute terms, four out of 10 people Latin America and the Caribbean — 267 million people — experienced moderate or severe food insecurity by 2020, the UN report said.
That’s 60 million more people than in 2019, a nine percentage point increase, the UN said, adding that the increase is “the most significant increase compared to other regions of the world”.
Women The rise in hunger in Latin America and the Caribbean had a greater impact than on men, UN agencies also said.
In 2020, 41.8% of women in the region had moderate or severe food insecurity, compared to more than 32% of men. Gender inequality has been on the rise for the past six years; It rose significantly from 6.4 percent in 2019 to 9.6 percent in 2020, the UN said.
However, hunger remains lower in Latin America than elsewhere in the world, according to UN agencies.
Worldwide, 11 people die of starvation every minute, according to a July report Oxfam Charity, the number of people facing similar conditions to famine has increased sixfold in the last year.
Latin America and the Caribbean also continue to show improvement in reducing child unemployment – a product of long-term malnutrition – the UN report said, although progress has slowed since the pandemic began.
The regional prevalence of child wasting is 1.3 percent, significantly lower than the world average of 6.7 percent, according to UN agencies.
Along with the rise in hunger, one in four adults in Latin America and the Caribbean – 106 million people – is suffering from obesity, according to UN agencies. That figure represents a 9.5% increase between 2000 and 2016 in the Caribbean and more than 7% in South America, the report says.
“In Latin America and the Caribbean, COVID-19 has exacerbated a pre-existing malnutrition crisis,” said Jean Gough, UNICEF, the UN’s regional director of children’s funding. “As services are disrupted and livelihoods are destroyed, it is becoming more difficult for families to put healthy food on the table, leaving many children hungry and leaving others overweight.”