Itisalarming to know that in Africa and elsewhere, children between the ages of 2-5 years die of hunger/malnutrition on a regular basis; spare a thought for the recent Famine in Somalia that claimed over 260,000 lives. The multidimensional statistical tool, The Global Hunger Index (GHI) is used to describe the state of countries’ hunger situation. The Index was adopted and further developed by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI). Countries with extremely alarming (GHI ≥ 30), or alarming (GHI between 20.0 and 29.9) hunger situation are of keen interest.
Below are Top 10 Hungriest African Countries as of 2014, according to the Global Hunger Index (GHI).
1) Burundi (GHI: 35.6)
Notorious for hunger and malnutrition issues, Burundi tops the Global Hunger Index for the third year in a row. Food security for the majority of Burundians has continually dwindled in recent years, despite a gradual return to peace. A least developed and low-income, food-deficit country; more than half of Burundi’s people suffer from mal-nourishment and live below the poverty line, mainly in rural areas. Burundi has an indicator ratio of 35.6, gifting it the distinction of being the hungriest country in Africa and the world.
2) Eritrea (GHI: 33.8)
All efforts by the government of Eritrea to ameliorate the pitiable situation of hunger malady, infrastructural comatose and economic deficiency have largely been ineffective. With an indicator ratio of 33.8, Eritrea is prominent for hunger crisis and has been making global headlines in this regard. Situated between Sudan and Ethiopia in the Horn of Africa, drought, famine and malnutrition are ravaging Eritrea, as well as nearby countries.
3) Comoros (GHI: 29.5)
The seat of numerous coups/attempted coups, Comoros is famous for political instability since its independence in 1975. With the acute rates of hunger, infant mortality and population increase, it’s no wonder to see why the World Hunger Index ranked Comoros third on the list of the world’s hungriest nations.
Courtesy of Michigan State University Board of Trustees
4) Sudan (GHI: 26)
This score was reached when former Sudan was one entity before the emergence of South Sudan. The 2014 GHI score could only be calculated for former Sudan as one entity, because sepa-rate undernourishment estimates for 2011–2013 were not available for South Sudan, which became independent in 2011, and present-day Sudan. Nevertheless, the score should be a cause of concern as Hunger crisis is still evident in that region.
Credit: AP Photo/Matthew Abbott
5) Chad (GHI: 24.9)
Chad is one country that has consistently suffered from hunger going for a very long time now. People in the country’s arid Sahelian region have been regularly plagued with malnutrition and food insecurity. 2010 proved particularly harsh as lack of rainfall, usable farmland, clean water, and sufficient healthcare pushed two-thirds of families in Chad into food insecurity. Malnutrition rates increased exponentially: one in four children in Western Chad was suffering from deadly malnutrition.
6) Ethiopia (GHI: 24.4)
One of the poorest nations of the world, Ethiopia continues to fight with malnutrition within the nation. The actual extent of this malnutrition is shocking. According to “Cost of Hunger in Africa”, child malnutrition costs Ethiopia 16.5 percent of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) each year. More than 30 years after the famine and images that gripped the world in shock, Ethiopia still struggles with political unrest, high poverty rates and low education rates.
7) Zambia (GHI: 23.2)
Despite the fact that Zambia has enjoyed considerable economic bloom in recent years, the menace of poverty in the nation is still rife. The bulk of children in Zambia eat a meal at least once or twice daily. But despite a full stomach, many lack nutrients essential for their physical and mental development. The Zambian government is fighting this “hidden hunger” by fortifying maize meal, the staple food, with life-saving vitamins and minerals.
Courtesy of Harvey Wang for Episcopal Relief & Development
8) Sierra Leone (GHI: 22.5)
With one of the world’s highest malnutrition rates having acute malnutrition at or above emergency levels of 15 percent among children under five years old, Sierra Leone faces significant challenges of food security and nutrition. Poverty remains pervasive, particularly in the Eastern and Northern regions, where more than six out of ten people live on less than one euro a day.
9) Madagascar (GHI: 21.9)
One of the poorest countries in Africa. Prey to inclement natural disasters such as cyclones, flooding and drought, Madagascar continues to suffer a major threat to its food security. Its Agricultural land mass is gradually being eroded due to deforestation and lack of proper land management. In addition, the unequal distribution of the country’s wealth has left ninety percent of the country’s population living on less than two dollars a day.
10) Central African Republic (GHI: 21.5)
Central African Republic (CAR) has been the abode of internecine conflicts that has driven hundreds of thousands of people from their homes, creating a humanitarian crisis in which displaced people are living in camps that have sprung up in dozens of different locations. Due to the fighting, farmers have not been able to harvest their crops and many other people have lost their livelihoods. The situation is an abysmal one.
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