The World’s Hungry Exceed One Billion for the First Time

The global economic crisis has hit those who can least afford it:

The global economic crisis has contributed to pushing the number of hungry people in the world above 1 billion for the first time, the head of the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has warned in an interview with the Financial Times newspaper.

The credit crunch is exacerbating the impact of soaring food price inflation in 2007 and 2008, which had already boosted the ranks of the chronically hungry from less than 850 million before the food crisis to 963 million by the end of last year.

FAO director Jacques Diouf told the FT on Thursday that number had increased, and “unfortunately, we are already quoting a number of 1 billion people on average for this year”.

These are staggering figures. One can debate the merits of ethicist Peter Singer’s approach to the problem, but it’s hard to disagree with Sen. John Kerry, who rightly states that hunger is one of the greatest diplomatic and moral challenges the world faces.