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Hunger is on the rise, U.N. official says

February 18, 2007|From the Associated Press

UNITED NATIONS — About 18,000 children die every day because of hunger and malnutrition, and 850 million people go to bed every night with empty stomachs, a "terrible indictment of the world in 2007," the head of the U.N. food agency said.

James Morris called for students and young people, faith-based groups, the business community and governments to join forces in a global movement to alleviate and eliminate hunger -- especially among children.

Morris, former president of the Lilly Endowment, one of the largest charitable organizations in the United States, is stepping down as executive director of the Rome-based World Food Program in April after five years of leading the world's largest humanitarian organization.

He said the percentage of people who are hungry has decreased from a fifth of the world's population to a sixth, but the number of hungry people is growing by about 5 million a year because of the rising population.

"Today 850 million people are hungry and malnourished. Over half of them are children; 18,000 children die every single day because of hunger and malnutrition," Morris said. "This is a shameful fact, a terrible indictment of the world in 2007, and it's an issue that needs to be solved."

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