8 Facts On Disasters, Hunger and Nutrition

Disasters disproportionately affect the world’s poorest people and communities, significantly increasing hunger and malnutrition. Hunger and malnutrition increase people’s exposure to risk.  Because of this, disaster risk reduction is a central priority for the World Food Programme. WFP will be participating at the World Conference for Disaster Risk Reduction (WCDRR) in Sendai Japan, March 14-18th. 

Here are some key facts on the link between disasters and hunger.

1. More than 80 percent of the world’s most food-insecure people live in countries prone to natural disasters with high levels of environmental degradation.

2. Almost 10 percent of the world’s population (980 million people) live on less than US$1.25 a day in rural areas where they depend on agriculture and face increasing disaster risk.

3. By 2050 hunger and child malnutrition could increase by up to 20 percent as a result of climate-related disasters.

4. More than 20 percent of variation in height in developing countries is determined by environmental factors, particularly drought. 

5. Studies from Bangladesh show increased wasting and stunting rates among preschool children after floods, due to reduced access to food, increased difficulties in providing proper care and greater exposure to contaminants.

6. In the Philippines over the last two decades, 15 times as many infants have died in the 24 months following typhoon events as died in the typhoons themselves; most of them were infant girls.

7. Drought has severe impacts on dietary diversity and reduces overall food consumption In Niger, irrespective of the birth location, children born during a drought are more than twice as likely to be malnourished between the ages of 1 and 2.

8. Hunger cannot be eliminated in our lifetime without building the resilience of vulnerable people to increasing disaster risk and climate change.