Sunday September 22, 2019

39 Million People Suffering from Hunger in Latin America and The Caribbean

(Hunger) is a really worrying trend because, after undernourishment and hunger had declined for decades in that region and around the world

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People, Hunger, Latin America
Eve Crowley, who is in Montevideo to present a book commemorating FAO's 68 years in Uruguay, described the current situation in the region in an interview with EFE on Saturday. Pixabay

An increase in the number of people suffering from hunger in Latin America and the Caribbean, now totaling 39 million, is a cause of concern for the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), according to its deputy representative for that region.

Eve Crowley, who is in Montevideo to present a book commemorating FAO’s 68 years in Uruguay, described the current situation in the region in an interview with EFE on Saturday.

“(Hunger) is a really worrying trend because, after undernourishment and hunger had declined for decades in that region and around the world, we’re now seeing an increase,” she said. “In the Latin American and the Caribbean region there are now 39 million people suffering from hunger.”

On the other end of the spectrum levels of obesity and overweight also are elevated in the region and ascend to as high as 65 per cent of the population in Uruguay, compared to 60 per cent for the region as a whole.

People, Hunger, Latin America
An increase in the number of people suffering from hunger in Latin America and the Caribbean, now totaling 39 million, is a cause of concern for the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), according to its deputy representative. Pixabay

“We have a target of … eradicating malnutrition in all of its forms, and currently one of its expressions is that in many countries there’s a combination of simultaneous problems – not only in the country, (but) at times in the home and at times in the same person,” she said, noting that undernourishment occasionally goes hand in hand with overweight and obesity and micronutrient deficiency.

Regarding the high level of meat consumption in the region, although the FAO promotes and recognizes the importance of that food group, the expert expressed concern that animal protein is being consumed in excess at the expense of fruit and vegetables.

“The use of antibiotics in the production chain of meat and fish is a very big source of concern for the FAO, Pan American Health Organization, World Health Organization and the World Organization for Animal Health because we know that in 2050 antimicrobial resistance will be the biggest cause of death in the world, ahead of cancer and noncommunicable diseases,” Crowley added.

She said it is very important for governments to levy taxes on unhealthy foods and to incentivize the consumption of fruits, vegetables and fish, as well as to promote family farming and educational campaigns such as the latest nutritional guide released by Uruguay’s Health Ministry.

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“If governments don’t take action now, they’re going to pay with (heavy burdens on) their public health systems, something that’s already happening with the spending of millions of dollars to alleviate noncommunicable diseases,” Crowley said. (IANS)

Next Story

Nearly 1,000 Young People March in Kampala to Protest Land, Forest and Wetland Degradation

Statistics from Uganda's forest authority show that between 1990 and 2015, the country's forest cover dropped by half

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People, March, Kampala
Young people gather to protest land, forest and wetland degradation, in Kampala, Uganda, Sept. 20, 2019. (H. Athumani/VOA) VOA

Nearly 1,000 young people marched Friday in Kampala to protest land, forest and wetland degradation around the country.

Statistics from Uganda’s forest authority show that between 1990 and 2015, the country’s forest cover dropped by half — from 24 percent to 12.4 percent.

In addition, a 2015 report by the U.N. Development Program indicated that Uganda loses about 2 percent of its wetlands annually.

The protesting youth, accompanied by a matching band, carried placards that read, “Act Now for Climate Justice,” “Stop Pollution” and “Stop Land Degradation and Deforestation.”

People, March, Kampala
FILE – Dirt is cleared and dumped, destroying a wetland in Entebbe, Uganda, July 8, 2013. VOA

Noah Osbert, a student of Kyambogo University, said world leaders need to listen to young people on issues that affect their future.

“It is incumbent upon them and upon us to show that we have that spirit of compassion to plant trees, to conserve nature for the future generation,” Osbert said. “For example, we are looking up to having industrialization, how are we counter measuring for industrialization? Because it comes along with the negative side of it.”

Research from Makerere University School of Public Health in May 2019 indicated 31,600 people die in Uganda from air pollution-related illnesses linked to dust and industrialization.

In addition, the researchers say Kampala’s annual mean pollution levels are five times above the level recommended by the World Health Organization.

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“I am going to get lung complications, just because the atmosphere is not safe,” said Akello Harriet Hope, program manager for Climate Action Network Uganda. “Am going to go to the water sources, I consume water that is already contaminated. Because waste management is zero. We are getting health issues related to emissions from the preconditioned cars. So, we need justice now.”

Exporting coal

In February 2018, Kenya imposed a logging ban. In November, the government extended the logging ban for a year, to enforce reforms aimed at restoring forest cover. However, Uganda immediately became a source of charcoal in Kenya, leading to more logging in the country.

Working with the government, activist group Youth Go Green says it intends to plant 10 million trees in the next five years.

 

People, March, Kampala
FILE – Dirt is cleared and dumped, destroying a wetland in Entebbe, Uganda, July 8, 2013. Pixabay

“Charcoal is being exported to Kenya, to Tanzania and other East African countries,” said Edwin Muhumuza, the group’s leader. “But, I think, we are going to put it before government to see that trade is stopped.”

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The protest march comes just a day before the first youth Climate Summit in New York, which  will provide a platform for young leaders to showcase their solutions and engage with decision-makers. (VOA)