By Muhammad Luqman
Pakistan’s 20% population or 42 million people are ‘undernourished’, according to the Global Hunger Index Report made public on Thursday.
There is improvement in the situation compared to last year’s 22%. However, the number is still alarming and a cause for concern.
The under age five mortality rate has also dropped which shows overall improvement, but Pakistan ranks 106 out of 119 countries that the report tracks. Last year, it ranked 108 among 118 countries on the index and was labelled in ‘serious’ condition.
The country performed worst than most neighbouring countries, and dropped down 6 places below India. Bangladesh now ranks 88 out of 119 with speedy improvements in the sector.Afghanistan comes in at number 107.
The hunger index ranks countries based on undernourishment, child mortality, child wasting (low weight for height) and child stunting (low height for age).
World leaders agreed a 2030 deadline for ending global hunger last year as part of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – an ambitious plan for tackling poverty, hunger and inequality. The International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) produces the annual index along with aid agencies Concern Worldwide and Welthungerhilfe.
The United Nations said last month that global hunger levels have risen for the first time in more than a decade, now affecting 11% of the world’s population – or 815 million people. Nearly half of the 119 countries surveyed had ‘serious’, ‘alarming’ or ‘extremely alarming’ hunger levels between 2012 and 2016, with war-torn Central African Republic worst affected, followed by Chad, Sierra Leone, Madagascar and Zambia.
“Conflict and climate-related shocks are at the heart of this problem,” said Dominic MacSorley, chief executive of Concern, which compiled the report along with the IFPRI and Welthungerhilfe.
Women, girls and ethnic minorities are most at risk of hunger, which causes nearly half of deaths in under fives, it said. “The world needs to act as one community with the shared goal of ensuring not a single child goes to bed hungry each night and no-one is left behind,” MacSorley said.
By Muhammad Luqman