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Last Updated: Sunday, 16 October 2005, 15:04 GMT 16:04 UK
UN warns of rising hunger deaths
A Malawian malnourished child lies in hospital in Blantyre
Malawi faces a growing food crisis
The number of people dying from chronic hunger and related illnesses is on the rise, the UN's World Food Programme (WFP) has warned.

More than six million people have died from hunger this year, said WFP director James Morris, in comments to mark World Food Day.

"Hunger and related diseases still claim more lives than Aids, malaria and tuberculosis combined," he said.

He urged givers of aid not to forget the scale of the problem.

"The number of chronically hungry people is on the rise again, after decades of progress. We're losing ground," he said.

According to the WFP, 25,000 people die from hunger and poverty every day.


Malnutrition is a serious problem in many parts of the world including North Korea, Haiti and Afghanistan.

Sub-Saharan Africa remains the most seriously afflicted area, where conflicts and the spread of Aids have exacerbated the effects of hunger.

The spotlight is now on Malawi, where millions of people are facing a food crisis, Mr Morris said.

Criticism

Both Mr Morris and UN special rapporteur on the right to food Jean Ziegler have criticised the actions of many nations towards the problem of hunger.

Mr Morris said developed countries spend more every week subsidising farmers than they do in a year on helping starving children.

Mr Ziegler complained that while the UN's member states spent more than a trillion dollars on arms in 2004, donations to the WFP had fallen by $219m.

This had already led the WFP to reduce food rations for thousands of refugees in East and West Africa, Mr Ziegler told AFP news agency.


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