795 million people still go hungry every day, global index shows
More than three-quarters of a billion people are going hungry every day around the world , a damning report has warned.
The level of hunger in developing countries has fallen by almost one third since the turn of the century but people in 50 countries are suffering serious or alarming food crises or starvation this year, experts found.
The Global Hunger Index, released by Concern Worldwide, the US-based International Food Policy Research Institute and German aid organisation Welthungerhilfe revealed 795 million people were affected by hunger on a daily basis.
The Central African Republic, Chad and Zambia have the worst levels.
Haiti, which has been devastated by hurricane Matthew, was fourth on the list, with about half its 10 million people undernourished.
And NGOs warned the global crisis may be worse than feared as war is preventing proper assessments in 13 countries including Syria, Somalia, Sudan and South Sudan.
Dominic MacSorley, chief executive of Irish charity Concern Worldwide, said: " Concern staff in countries like Niger have told me harrowing stories of parents having to choose which child gets to eat the one meal they have to offer them a day.
"Other families are surviving on just a bowl of porridge a day while others, worse off, are going hungry for up to 10 days.
"These levels of hunger and malnutrition are just not unacceptable in the 21st century. It is immoral and shameful."
The index covers 118 developing countries almost half of which have serious or alarming hunger levels. It is based on four factors, death rates for children under five, stunted growth, undernourishment and wasting, reflecting the proportion of youngsters whose weight is low for their height.
Some of the startling warnings included:
:: In Timor-Leste, Burundi, and Papua New Guinea, about half the children under five are shorter than they should be owing to a lack of nutrition.
:: 795 million people - 12 times the UK population and 173 times the population of Ireland - face hunger every day.
:: 21,000 people die of hunger or related causes every day, according to the United Nations.
:: In 20 countries at least a quarter of the population is undernourished.
:: Up to 50 countries - including Yemen, Haiti, Pakistan, Zimbabwe, and Afghanistan - will still have moderate to alarming hunger ratings by 2030, the deadline for the problem to have been eradicated.
Other countries among the 10 worst in the world for hunger levels are Madagascar, Yemen, Sierra Leone, Afghanistan and Niger.
The report also noted that sub-Saharan Africa has the highest hunger level for a region in the world, followed closely by South Asia.
Mr MacSorley said the technology, knowledge and resources were available to achieve the vision of a hunger-free world over the next 14 years.
"What is missing is both the urgency and the political will to turn commitments into action," he said.