Famine is, as Ireland’s President Higgins put it, “the greatest ethical failure of the current global system.” In its latest report on food insecurity, the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations) estimates that 868 million people are starving, and that infant malnutrition is a cause of death for more than 2.5 million children every year.
Read it again! “There are 870 million undernourished people in the world today. This means that one in eight people do not get enough food to be healthy and lead an active life,” World Food Programme
Poverty is hunger and not having access to clean drinking water. It is lack of clothing, shelter and having nowhere to go. Poverty is being sick and not being able to see a doctor. Poverty is not having access to school and not knowing how to read and write. Poverty is not having a job, is fear for the future. It is about living one day at a time.
Absolute poverty refers to the lack of sufficient resources to sustain life, which includes food, safe drinking water, sanitation facilities, clothing, shelter, health care and education. At least 80% of humanity lives on less than $10 a day, and 22,000 children die each day because of it. It depends not only on income but also on access to services.
“Fundamentally, poverty is a denial of choices and opportunities, a violation of human dignity. It means lack of basic capacity to participate effectively in society. It means not having enough to feed and clothe a family, not having a school or clinic to go to, not having the land on which to grow one’s food or a job to earn one’s living, not having access to credit. It means insecurity, powerlessness and exclusion of individuals, households and communities. It means susceptibility to violence, and it often implies living on marginal or fragile environments, without access to clean water or sanitation”, UN, June 1998.
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