The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

World famine worsens

Nov 3, 2008

The World Food Summit set the goal of cutting in half the number of undernourished people in the world – promising it would be done within 20 years. But this goal, set in 1996, has not only not been met, the numbers of those who are hungry have grown worse.

A 2007 report said about 930 million people – almost a billion – were hungry, compared to 850 million 10 years ago. Malnutrition affects 55 million children, almost half of them so severely malnourished they soon may die.

A former U.N. reporter put it very well, “A child who today dies from famine is a child who has been assassinated.” The world has more then enough wealth to eradicate this plague of hunger. Only three billion dollars would save 19 million children from severe malnutrition. Yet the rich countries – able to come up with hundreds of billions of dollars overnight to aid financial institutions – refuse to make the necessary funds available. Or as someone with Action Against Hunger pointed out, “For years, not a single promise made by the international community to put an end to famine and malnutrition has been kept.”

In fact, contributions from governments to end hunger have fallen to their lowest levels in 40 years. The U.N. World Food Program is so underfunded that it has begun to ration food to refugees. In Darfur, for example, adults receive only 1600 calories a day from aid – instead of the 2200 calories recommended.

Close to a billion human beings live today in extreme hunger – from Afghanistan to Somalia to Haiti. This earth could nourish all these people, so that hunger no longer existed. Instead, in this revolting system for profit, if the poor don’t have enough money to buy food, they starve to death.