Under the High Patronage of His Majesty the King of Morocco Mohammed VI
5th Global Humanitarian Aviation Conference & Exhibition
Marrakech, Morocco October 9th–11th 2013

5ème Conférence mondiale de l'aviation humanitaire & Exposition
Marrakech, Maroc October 9 au 11 Octobre 2013

Facts and Figures

The questions that might come in the mind of our readers is: what is Hunger and/or Malnutrition?
Are there really people dying of hunger or hunger causes? Does WFP only work in delivering food?
Which countries suffer of hunger the most? And many other questions!!!!

In this section we compiled some of the facts, statistics and frequently asked questions that might draw up the scheme.

What is hunger?

The sensation of hunger, a lack of food in your stomach, is universal. But there are different manifestations of hunger which are each measured in different ways:

Under-nourishment is used to describe the status of people whose food intake does not include enough calories (energy) to meet minimum physiological needs for an active life.

Malnutrition means ‘badly nourished’, but is more than a measure of what we eat or fail to eat. Malnutrition is characterized by inadequate intake of protein, energy and micronutrients and by frequent infections and diseases. Starved of the right nutrition, people will die from common infections like measles or diarrhea.

Malnutrition is measured not by how much food is eaten but by physical measurements of the body – weight or height – and age.

Wasting is an indicator of acute malnutrition that reflects a recent and severe process that has led to substantial weight loss. This is usually the result of starvation and/or disease.


Is there a food shortage in the world?

There is enough food in the world today for everyone to have the nourishment necessary for a healthy and productive life.


What causes it?

Among the key causes of hunger are natural disasters, conflict, poverty, poor agricultural infrastructure and over-exploitation of the environment. Recently, financial and economic crises have pushed more people into hunger.

As well as the obvious sort of hunger resulting from an empty stomach, there is also the hidden hunger of micronutrient deficiencies which make people susceptible to infectious diseases, impair physical and mental development, reduce their labour productivity and increase the risk of premature death.


What are the effects of malnutrition?

Malnutrition covers a range of problems, such as being dangerously thin, being too short for one’s age, being deficient in vitamins and minerals (such as lacking iron which makes you anaemic), or even being too fat (obese). It is measured using the following indicators:

Wasting is an indicator of acute malnutrition that reflects a recent and severe process that has led to substantial weight loss. This is usually the result of starvation and/or disease.

Stunting is an indicator of chronic malnutrition that reflects the long-term nutritional situation of a population. It is calculated by comparing the height-for-age of a child with a reference population of well nourished and healthy children.

Underweight is measured by comparing the weight-for-age of a child with a reference population of well-nourished and healthy children. An estimated 146 million children in developing countries are underweight.


Are micronutrients important?

Micronutrient – vitamin and mineral – deficiencies are very important, afflicting nearly two billion people worldwide. According to the World Health Organization, deficiencies of iron, vitamin A, and zinc rank among the top ten leading causes of death through disease in developing countries.

Iron deficiency is the most prevalent form of malnutrition, affecting billions of people worldwide. Iron deficiency damages a country’s productivity and impedes cognitive development.

Vitamin A deficiency is a leading cause of child blindness across developing countries. It affects 140 million pre-school children in 118 countries. Deficiency in vitamin A can increase the risk of dying from diarrhea, measles and malaria.

Iodine deficiency affects 780 million people worldwide. Some 20 million children are born mentally impaired because their mothers did not consume enough iodine during pregnancy.

Zinc deficiency contributes to growth failure and weakened immunity in young children; it results in some 800,000 child deaths per year.


Does it affect individuals only? If not How?

Hunger does not only weigh on the individual. It also imposes a crushing economic burden on the developing world. Economists estimate that every child whose physical and mental development is stunted by hunger and malnutrition stands to lose 5-10 percent in lifetime earnings.

There are 925 million undernourished people in the world today. That means one in  seven people do not get enough food to be healthy and lead an active life. Hunger and malnutrition are in fact the number one risk to the health worldwide — greater than AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined.


Lets look at the stats to better draw the outlines…



Hunger is the world’s No. 1 health Risk. It kills more people every year than AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis combined



One in seven people in the world will go to bed hungry tonight


One out of four Children in developing countries are underweight


There are more hungry people in the world than the combined populations of USA, Canada and the European Union


Are the numbers going down?

Whereas good progress was made in reducing chronic hunger in the 1980s and the first half of the 1990s, hunger has been slowly but steadily on the rise for the past decade, FAO said. The number of hungry people increased between 1995-97 and 2004-06 in all regions except Latin America and the Caribbean. But even in this region, gains in hunger reduction have been reversed as a result of high food prices and the global economic downturn that started in 2008.