2017 Global Hunger Index released — Concern Worldwide CEO says ‘World is shamefully falling into a perpetual hunger crisis.’ Here are the 10 countries most at risk.

October 12, 2017
Photo by Kieran McConville

The 2017 GHI releases today, and despite hunger levels falling, global levels remain high.

According to the 2017 Global Hunger Index, the Central African Republic, which has a population of 4.6 million, has the highest hunger levels out of 119 countries where data could be collected. The report — jointly released by Concern Worldwide, German aid agency Welthungerhilfe and the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) — highlights massive food inequality around the globe.

The report, out today, places a spotlight on the conflict-troubled African nation, where around half its citizens are undernourished, as being the only country in the GHI’s most severe category of “extremely alarming” – a level no country has fallen to since 2014.

A shocking 51 other countries are ranked as having “serious” or “alarming” hunger, in a year when famine cast a shadow over four nations where over 20 million people are still at risk of starvation.

“Shamefully, large parts of the world are falling deeper into a perpetual food crisis.”

Worryingly, a lack of data meant 13 countries were not included in this year’s GHI, despite significant concerns being raised about nine of them, including war-torn South Sudan, where famine was declared by the United Nations (UN) in February.

Somalia, another country with insufficient information for the list, was also at risk of famine this year.

Ongoing conflict in many of these countries, including Syria, was a key factor that inhibited the collection of data necessary for calculating GHI scores.

Take a look at the ten hungriest countries below:

  1. Central African Republic
  2. Chad
  3. Sierra Leone
  4. Madagascar
  5. Zambia
  6. Yemen
  7. Sudan
  8. Liberia
  9. Niger
  10. Timor-Leste

The report also includes a stark warning that despite the global hunger dropping by 27 per cent in the last 15 years, the United Nations looks likely to fail in reaching the target it set in 2015 to have hunger eradicated by 2030.

“Shamefully, large parts of the world are falling deeper into a perpetual food crisis, despite wealthy nations having the resources, knowledge and technology to reverse this course,” said Concern Worldwide Chief Executive, Dominic MacSorley. Concern works in seven of the ten countries highlighted in the GHI with the highest levels of hunger.

“Inequality, conflict and climate related shocks are at the heart of this problem, which I witnessed first-hand this year in countries like Central African Republic where our staff work under very challenging conditions to help people struggling to survive.

45 percent of deaths among children under five are linked to undernutrition.

“We tend to talk about hunger in terms of data, percentages, but once you see a child dying of hunger it compels you to act and to do more. It is an obscenity and tragedy in particular, because it is preventable.

The 2017 GHI launches just weeks after new data from the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations revealed the number of undernourished people in the world increased in 2016 by 38 million to 815 million.

It is also estimated that around 45 percent of deaths among children under five-years-of-age are linked to undernutrition.

The GHI’s authors call for governments to invest more in achieving the UN’s sustainable development goal of zero hunger by 2030, to better support small farmers and include them in policy debates and to ensure fairer standards in business and trade.


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