900 million face starvation – Oxfam – AP

October 15th, 2008 Print Print Email Email

More than 900 million people in developing countries face starvation as food prices soar, a report found. (more…)

More than 900 million people in developing countries face starvation as food prices soar, a report found.

Spiralling inflation in the cost of basic foods, such as rice and cereals, have pushed an extra 119 million people into hunger this year, according to Oxfam. And a separate study by CARE International said 17 million people were facing starvation in the Horn of Africa alone.

The reports are timed to coincide with United Nation’s International World Food Day, which raises awareness of the world food problem and tries to tackle malnutrition and starvation worldwide.

Oxfam’s Double Edged Prices report found 967 million people were now officially living below the hunger line, because of the high cost of food. It said there had been a 300% rise in the cost of wheat in Guatemala, a 100% increase in the price of flour and a doubling of the cost of rice in Cambodia and the Philippines in the past year.

Oxfam chief executive Barbara Stocking said the effects of the price rises were “devastating”.

“Innocent lives have been blighted by exposure to market volatility,” she said.

“It is time the world woke up to the need for developing country governments to support their poor farmers, and the obligation of developed governments to help them do so.”

Oxfam said 1.7 million people in Tajikistan – one-third of the rural population of the country – is now classed as food insecure, after crops were devastated by a severe winter, followed by a hot spring and a plague of locusts. In Honduras, food consumption among the poorest families has reduced by 8%, and in Cambodia 1.7 million people are facing starvation.

And according to CARE International’s figures, 6.4 million people in Ethiopia are in need of emergency food aid, and in Somalia half of the population is starving.

A combination of drought, conflict and rising food prices has left millions of people in the area facing starvation. CARE International added that these countries were approaching the “peak hunger season”, when cereal prices climb to their highest point, and families have little left from the previous year’s harvest.

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