A new report on global hunger says that despite advances, some 795 million people are going hungry or suffering from malnutrition. It says more than one in four children is chronically malnourished.
The Global Hunger Index released on Monday in Berlin by German charity Welthungerhilfe, the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and the aid organization Concern Worldwide said that armed conflicts were now the main reason for food shortages.
"Conflicts such as those in Syria, Iraq and South Sudan are the biggest drivers of starvation," said Welthungerhilfe President Bärbel Dieckmann, noting that an estimated 172 million people were affected by war worldwide.
The Index showed that eight of the 117 countries included in the study had "very serious" hunger problems. Most of these countries are in sub-Saharan Africa, with the biggest reported problems being in the Central African Republic, Chad and Zambia.
Countries such as Eritrea, Burundi and Sudan, which were all classified as having serious food shortages in the 2014 report, were missing from this year's list owing to a lack of data on malnutrition.
In addition to the 25 percent of children who are suffering from chronic malnutrition and associated growth disruption, 9 percent of all children in the world are acutely malnourished, according to the Index.
But the Index also noted some advances in tackling the problem of hunger, saying that 17 countries, including Brazil, Kyrgyzstan, Peru and Croatia, had reduced the number of people lacking proper food supplies by 50 percent, while the number of people without enough to eat across the world had gone down by 27 percent.
Countries ravaged by civil war such as Angola, Ethiopia and Rwanda had also improved their food situations by means of great effort, the Index said.
The report also highlighted the fact that there had been no more devastating famines since the end of the 20th century. But it emphaisized that all success in combatting hunger would disappear if armed conflicts were not permanently stopped.
The Global Hunger Index was issued this year for the tenth time.
tj/kms (epd, AFP)