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Helping the Hungry

DW staff (dc)October 14, 2008

With almost a billion people worldwide going hungry, the German aid organization Welthungerhilfe has warned that the financial crisis should not push their suffering in the background.

Children in Cite Soleil, Haiti, one of the capital's worst slums, finish a bowl of rice and beans they shared as their only meal of the day
Unlike the banks, hungry children aren't to blame for their misery, said SchäubleImage: AP

"Close to a billion starving people -- that's a disgrace for humanity," the organization's chair, Ingeborg Schäuble, said on Tuesday in Berlin. "Unlike the banks, they are not to blame for their misery."

She added that the current hunger crisis is "far worse" than the financial crisis.

"If the global hunger crisis were taken as seriously as the crisis in the financial markets, we would have found a solution long ago," she said. "And yet it is much worse and poses a threat to millions of lives."

Together with the Washington-based International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), Schäuble presented the Global Hunger Index (GHI) 2008 ahead of World Food Day on Thursday, Oct. 16.

According to the index, which is based on the three variables of malnutrition, underweight children and child mortality, 33 countries are currently registering "alarming" or "extremely alarming" levels of hunger. Some 923 million people -- one in six people on the planet -- go hungry every day. Of that number, 907 million live in developing countries.

Schäuble said that an additional 10 billion euros ($13.7 billion) in aid was necessary to combat the situation.

"We're calling for a bailout package for the hungry," she said.