World

World's hungry reach record 1 billion

The number of hungry people has passed a record one billion this year at the same time that food aid is at a 20-year low, the United Nations World Food Programme said Wednesday in London.

The number of hungry people has passed a record one billion this year at the same time that food aid is at a 20-year low, the United Nations World Food Programme said Wednesday in London.

The number of undernourished people in the world has grown largely due to higher food prices, according to the agency.

The organization is facing a serious shortfall so far, having confirmed only $2.6 billion in funding for its 2009 budget of $6.7 billion, it said in a statement.

 "This comes at a time of great vulnerability for the hungry," the agency said.

"Millions have been buffeted by the global financial downturn, their ability to buy food is limited by stubbornly high prices. In addition, unpredictable weather patterns are causing more weather-related hunger."

About 65 per cent of the world's hungry live in only seven countries: India, China, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Pakistan and Ethiopia, according to the agency.

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