What causes hunger?
There are many reasons why people experience hunger. We know that conflict, climate change, poor access to healthcare and inequality are all underlying drivers of the hunger crisis.
Climate shocks and extreme weather
The climate crisis is driving a rise in extreme weather around the world, leading to more frequent droughts and floods. These can lead to crop failures and a loss of income for families, which means they struggle to feed their children.
Long and complex conflicts also affect millions of people around the world. They can lead to the sudden large-scale displacement of people who often end up living in makeshift camps and struggle to make an income.
Poverty and inequality are also leading drivers of hunger and malnutrition. More and more countries have both high levels of hunger in some regions and high levels of obesity elsewhere.
The increasingly unequal distribution of wealth means that many people are missing out on nutritious food and going hungry, even while living in countries experiencing strong economic development.
Often those living in poverty skip meals or consume cheaper and nutrition-poor foods, putting their health at risk.
Gender inequality also plays a role in driving malnutrition, as women and girls often eat last and least in a household. A third of all women of reproductive age worldwide suffer from anaemia, caused by iron deficiency. Teenage mothers and their babies can also be particularly vulnerable to malnutrition.
The impact of Covid-19 means 30 million more people around the world are suffering from hunger. While the threat of the pandemic continues, measures to stop the spread of the virus could lead to even greater levels of hunger as food becomes harder to access.
How is Action Against Hunger helping?
We’re an international charity committed to saving the lives of malnourished children and supporting their families to beat hunger.
For over forty years, we’ve led the global movement to end life-threatening hunger for good.
Our work tackles both the cause and effects of hunger – including nutrition and livelihoods programmes and water, sanitation and hygiene projects. We also respond to humanitarian emergencies and are a member of the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC).
In 2020, we helped more than 25 million people in 46 countries around the world.