According to the United Nations’ World Food Programme, about 821 million people across the globe don’t get enough food to live an active, healthy life. Tens of millions of them are on the verge of famine in African and Asian countries. People living in extreme hunger suffer recurring illnesses and disabilities. Here we take a look at the top 10 hungriest countries in the world.
Drought, fueled by climate change, is one of the biggest factors contributing to global hunger. Another major factor is that more than half of the world’s 821 million hungry people live in conflict zones. The 2018 Global Hunger Index (GHI) produced by Concern Worldwide and Welthungerhilfe analyzed 119 countries to measure hunger levels at global, regional, and national levels.
As per the 2018 Global Hunger Index, the level of hunger and under-nutrition declined from 29.2 in the year 2000 to 20.9 in 2018. Fourteen countries were excluded from the 2018 GHI due to the lack of sufficient data. However, the report pointed out that hunger situation in seven of them is extremely alarming.
These are the top 10 hungriest countries in the world:
East Timor in Southeast Asia was a Portuguese colony until 1975, and was later annexed by Indonesia before it gained independence in 2002. The country has a population of about 1.2 million. Half the children in East Timor suffer from stunting, meaning their physical growth doesn’t match their age. Stunting also affects a child’s cognitive development.
The landlocked Asian nation is a major victim of terrorism and violence. It has one of the world’s largest population of internally displaced people, mainly due to violence and natural disasters. The Taliban militants remain a powerful entity despite the international attempt to rebuild Afghanistan. More than half of internally displaced people in Afghanistan said they don’t have enough food to feed their families.
Sudan has been a victim of violence, conflicts, floods, and droughts for decades. The African nation has seen two civil wars. An estimated 121,000 people were internally displaced in 2018 due to natural disasters and another 41,000 were displaced because of conflict and violence. It has also received more than 2.4 million refugees from South Sudan, most of whom need emergency food assistance.
Haiti is the hungriest country in the Western Hemisphere. The 2010 earthquake killed more than 200,000 people and injured another 300,000 people. About 1.3 million people were displaced. Haiti has per capita GDP of just $874. According to the World Bank, about 90% of the country’s population lives in areas vulnerable to natural disasters and extreme weather conditions.
6- Sierra Leone
The West African nation was ruled by Britain until 1961. After its independence, Sierra Leone has witnessed decades of political turbulence, including a civil war. It has per-capita GDP of just $505, even though it’s among the world’s leading producers of diamond, titanium, bauxite, and other minerals. In recent years, Sierra Leone was hit by a massive Ebola outbreak.
Zambia is the world’s fifth hungriest country, as per the 2018 Global Hunger Index. More than half of the country’s population lives in poverty. About 40% children are stunted due to the lack of nutritional food. Though Zambia hasn’t seen conflicts or violence in a long time, it suffers from massive droughts frequently. Most farmers in Zambia depend on rains for agriculture. Zambia has a national HIV prevalence rate of 12.4% among adults.
The island nation in the Indian Ocean has a population of around 25 million. Close to half of Madagascar’s children are stunted and suffer from extreme hunger. The biggest causes of hunger in Madagascar are locust attacks, massive cyclones, and long periods of drought that ruin the harvests. Madagascar is a popular tourist destination due to its stunning beaches, rich wildlife, and beautiful landscapes.
According to the United Nations, war-torn Yemen is the country with most people in need of humanitarian aid. It has nearly 2.5 million internally displaced people, most of whom were displaced due to violence. Yemen has been going through a civil war and more than half the population is living in the areas affected by the conflict. There are over a million suspected cholera cases in the country.
The African nation has a per-capita GDP of just $890, making it one of the poorest countries in the world. The country has absorbed hundreds of thousands of refugees from Sudan, Nigeria, and the Central African Republic over the years. The refugees need emergency food assistance. Chad has also been struggling with unpredictable weather conditions and drought, which ruin the crops.
1- Central African Republic
The Central African Republic is the hungriest country in the world. It has been a victim of political instability and ethnic violence in recent years, which has disrupted food production and supply. More than 20% of the country’s population has been displaced internally. The African nation has a population of only about five million. More than 2.5 million of them need humanitarian assistance.