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XINHUA

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) last week warned of a “dire” rise in hunger in Latin America and the Caribbean, after the number of people suffering from hunger in the region grew by 4 million between 2020 and 2021 amid the covid-19 pandemic.

From its regional office for Latin America and the Caribbean in Santiago, Chile, the agency presented “The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2022,” which showed that in 2021, as many as 56.5 million people in the region suffered hunger and 268 million people faced food insecurity.

According to the World Bank, 83 million people in Latin America and the Caribbean still live in extreme poverty, and half of those live in Brazil and Mexico.

And according to Mexico’s National Institute of Statistics and Geography (Inegi), in 2020, in at least 5.5 million Mexican homes, one or more family members went to bed hungry at least twice a week.

Moreover, 18.6 million Mexican households faced food insecurity in 2020, representing a 14 percent rise compared to the 16.3 million households that faced food insecurity in 2018, the Inegi said, based on its biannual National Household Income and Expenditure (ENIGH) survey.

That figure translates into 14 percent more Mexicans facing hunger and food insecurity today than when Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) took power in 2018.

The situation in Latin America worsened notably last year after the number of people suffering hunger rose by 9 million between 2019 and 2020, according to the report, with the undernourished currently accounting for 8.6 percent of the regional population.

“The situation is extremely dire. In just two years, 13 million people have fallen into hunger. And four out of 10 people live with food insecurity, while we have yet to brace for the impacts of the current food crisis,” FAO regional representative Julio Berdegue said in a statement.

“We are facing a complex crisis of proportions that require unprecedented action, not only from governments but from all the players in the regional agri-food system,” said Berdegue.

The report pointed out that of the 823 million people who suffered from hunger worldwide in 2021, Latin America and the Caribbean accounted for 7.4 percent of the total.

The report was jointly published by the FAO, the International Fund for Agricultural Development, the United Nations Children’s Fund, the World Food Program and the World Health Organization (WHO).

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