A United Nations (UN) report released on Monday, July 12, estimated that nearly 10 per cent of the global population —up to 811 million people were undernourished in 2020.
"There was a dramatic worsening of world hunger in 2020, much of it likely related to the fallout of COVID-19," stated a press release.
The spike in hunger has landed a blow in the UN's effort to end world hunger by 2030. The first-of-its-kind assessment on food security and nutrition has revealed that children have been the worst hit.
"The pandemic has exposed the vulnerabilities forming in our food systems over recent years as a result of major drivers such as conflict, climate variability and extremes, and economic slowdowns and downturns," the report further added.
The Report In Detail
The total percentage of undernourished people globally increased from 8.4 per cent in 2019 to 9.9 per cent in 2020. With 418 million undernourished people, Asia had the highest number of people struggling from hunger. Over 200 million people were undernourished in Africa.
In 2020, around 30 per cent of the world population, which is 2.3 billion people, did not have year-round access to adequate food. Gender-based inequality in food access also deepened in the past year, with 11 food-insecure women, for every ten food-insecure men.
Children, too, were severely impacted by the pandemic. The report found that over 149 million under-fives were too short for their age, more than 45 million- too thin for their height, and more than 39 million overweight. Nearly a third of women of reproductive age suffered from anaemia in 2020.
This year's report titled 'The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World', is the first global assessment of its kind in the pandemic era.
It was jointly published by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), the UN World Food Programme (WFP), and the World Health Organisation (WHO).