One billion people hungry?

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Yes, one billion people on planet earth are hungry, and that's according to the UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).

A great number of the hungry masses are scattered across Africa – in countries like Ethiopia, Somalia, Sudan(Dafur), Chad, Zimbabwe, etc.

The figure means one out of every six people is chronically hungry.

“It's the first time in human history that we have so many hungry people in the world,” says FAO spokesman Kostas Stamoulis.

This, in a world that is richer and producing more food than at any time in human history.

Surprising too, is the fact that there is more than enough food to feed every hungry mouth.

But a billion people still go to bed today without food.

It is an earth-shattering news, but it is not a new information – it is so old, and nearly worn out.

But a video on youtube produced by the United Nations as part of a campaign to end hunger, is attempting to draw unprecedented attention to it.

And it shows that some people are red-hot angry about it, to the point where a fairly strong language and emotion is used to express disgust.

“1 billion people live in chronic hunger and I'm mad as hell,” said the promotional video, with the words spoken by British actor, Jeremy Irons.

Even a gathering of the most brilliant people anywhere on earth struggles to find a logical explanation of the conditions making a billion people hungry.

What is clear to most ordinary people though is that the vicious cycle of the rich getting richer, and the poor getting poorer is almost intractable.

In the case of hunger, the hungry ones are getting hungrier and increasingly looking like skeletons with no flesh, whereas the well-fed are getting fatter and fatter on food, mainly on what's often called “junk food.”

The statistics are alarming. For example, the fact that every year, 15 million people die from starvation – starvation caused by the absence of food, not hunger strike or fasting.

The anti-hunger campaign by the UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation is simple: it set up a website to collect up to one million digital signatures, which it would employ to name and shame governments to work to end hunger.

How this can be achieved, no one yet knows. Getting a billion people well-fed is in itself a tough call. And when you realise that greed, corruption and mismanagement is at the root of it all, then the enormity of the challenge is multiplied.

But the campaign organisers want people to recognise the reality.

“The silent hunger crisis…poses a serious risk for world peace and security,” said Jacques Diouf, Director General of the FAO, adding “we urgently need to forge a broad consensus on the total and rapid eradication of hunger in the world and to take the necessary actions.”

It is not a good idea to forbid a drowning man from clutching onto straw.

So the campaign to end poverty and hunger has some place. Adding your digital support is as easy as clicking on this link:

The invocation says “we who support this petition find it unacceptable that close to one billion people are chronically hungry. Through the United Nations, we call upon governments to make the elimination of hunger their top priority until that goal is reached.”

In the mean time, the next 24 hours will see one billion people going to bed hungry. And it won't be the last 24 hours of famine.