Hunger reached 'alarming' ten-year high in 2017

High Commissioner Bachelet indicated that she continued “receiving information about violations of economic and social rights such as cases of deaths related to malnutrition”

High Commissioner Bachelet indicated that she continued “receiving information about violations of economic and social rights such as cases of deaths related to malnutrition”

It found that 821 million people - one in every nine - were malnourished in 2017, up from 815 million in 2016, putting at risk the UN's goal of eradicating hunger in the world by 2030.

A new report on the State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World released on Tuesday showed that world hunger rose in 2017 for the third consecutive year, fuelled by conflict and climate change.

Eastern Africa, which includes conflict-ridden nations like Eritrea and South Sudan, was singled out as the worst affected region, with 31.4 per cent of its people classified as undernourished.

The situation is worsening in South America and most regions of Africa, while the decreasing trend in undernourishment that characterized Asia seems to be slowing down significantly.

The report states: "Climate variability and extremes are a key driver behind the recent rises in global hunger and one of the leading causes of severe food crises".

"This reversal in progress sends a clear warning that more must be done and urgently if the Sustainable Development Goal of Zero Hunger is to be achieved by 2030".

The UN report covers previous year, and does not take account of 2018's extreme weather which has brought heatwaves and high temperatures to much of the northern hemisphere, accompanied by droughts in some parts of the globe and floods in others.

The report reveals that while some progress continues to be made in reducing child stunting, levels remain very high with almost 151 million children aged under five 22 per cent affected by stunting.

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The report states that undernourishment and severe food insecurity appear to be increasing in nearly all sub-regions of Africa, as well as in South America, whereas the undernourishment situation is stable in most regions of Asia. Globally, Africa and Asia accounted for 39 percent and 55 percent of all stunted children, respectively.

Extreme weather and hunger go hand in hand.

This, according to the United Nations, rises to 33.9 per cent in eastern Africa.

Meanwhile, 672 million adults - more than one in eight - are now obese, up from 600 million in 2014. Both undernutrition and obesity can exist in the same household, the report said, since poor access to affordable, nutritious food can increase risks for obesity. According to this report 151 million children under the age of 5 are stunted - small for their age - because they're not getting enough nutrients.

Though the problem is most significant in North America, Africa and Asia are also experiencing an upward trend, the report shows.

The UN agency called for policies which must pay special attention to groups who are the most vulnerable to the harmful consequences of poor food access: infants, children aged under five, school-aged children, adolescent girls, and women. To this end, authors of the report called for coordinated global and local action to enable countries become more resilient to climaterelated disasters.

The number of undernourished people tends to be higher in countries highly exposed to climate extremes, the report said.

The report said that the adverse effect of climate change was being felt in many areas that included agriculture, food security, biodiversity and ecosystems, water resources and human health amongst others.

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