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The world's hungriest countries.

Drought is the single largest cause of food shortages in the world. But human-made factors such as war create refugees and internally displaced people. In some countries, large numbers of people are made homeless, or displaced, by armed conflict or natural disasters. These people are unable to farm the land or are cut off from their traditional sources of food. Hunger is particularly hard on the young, and leads to high death rates for children. The chart below lists some of the countries with the highest percentages of undernourished people, their mortality rates for children under 5, and some of their greatest challenges to food security.


1. The nations with the highest percentages of undernourished people are located on which continent? --

2. Which is the only nation in the Western Hemisphere listed on the chart? --

3. How many years has Afghanistan been affected by conflict? --

4. According to the chart, which nation has the highest percentage of its population living below the poverty line? --

5. According to the chart, which nation has the highest mortality rate among children 5-years-old or younger? --

6. War has displaced nearly 2 million people in which African nation? --

7. What actions by governments and groups in the chart have led to Africa's hunger crisis? --

8. Of the human-made and natural causes for world hunger, which do you think poses the greatest threat? Explain your answer. --

9. What can you infer about the social infrastructure of the nations represented on the chart? Explain your answer. --

10. Why do you think no European nations are listed on the chart? --
COUNTRY % Under- Under 5 Threats to Food
 nourished (1) Mortality (2) Security

Congo 75 205 * 1.7 million displaced
 (Democratic by war, millions more
 Republic) cut off from
 traditional sources of
Somalia 71 225 * natural resources
 destroyed by civil war,
 drought, and floods;
 350,000 displaced.
Burundi 70 190 * 490,000 displaced by
 military conflicts;
 drought threatens
Eritrea 61 111 * drought afflicts half
 the country; over a
 million farmers
 displaced by Ethiopian
Mozambique 53 197 * irregular rains or
 drought, severe crop
 failure; 70% in
 poverty; 13% infected
Zambia 50 202 * ongoing drought and
 poor harvests; 21% with
 HIV/AIDS; about 70%
 live below poverty
Sierra Leone 50 316 * 750,000 displaced from
 a decade of civil war.

Tajikistan 71 116 * 500,000 displaced by
 civil war; 66% of
 population below
 poverty line.
Afghanistan 70 257 * worst drought in 30
 years; 26 years of
 conflict; 4.3 million
 without sufficient
 access to food.

Haiti 49 123 * 80% live in poverty;
 47% of children under
 5 moderately or
 severely stunted.

(1) For the period 1999-2001

(2) Deaths per 1,000 births, 2001

SOURCES: The State of Food Insecurety in the World 2003, United Nations
Food and Agriculture Organisation; UN World Food Program; U.S.
Committee on Refugees


1. Africa

2. Haiti

3. 26 years

4. Haiti

5. Sierra Leone

6. Congo (Democratic Republic)

7. military conflicts, civil war, poverty, HIV/AIDS

8. Answers will vary.

9. Answers will vary, but may cite weak infrastructures.

10. Answers will vary. Students may cite less severe climate and stronger infrastructures and economies.
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Publication:Junior Scholastic
Geographic Code:5HAIT
Date:Mar 8, 2004
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