Colour-coded UN hunger map uses Internet to spotlight global crisis points

5 August 2004

In an effort to highlight major global hunger emergencies in real-time, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) today unveiled a colour-coded Internet map guiding visitors to the agency’s worldwide fight against the scourge.

Posted on the Rome-based agency’s web site, the “Hunger Map” charts the geography of hunger hotspots around the world with red indicating high levels of undernourishment, orange moderate levels and green extremely low levels.

“There are more than 800 million undernourished women, men and children in the world, but how many people know where they live?” WFP Executive Director James T. Morris said. “The WFP Hunger Map puts them on the map.”

WFP first plotted the geographical coordinates of hunger in printed form four years ago, but this is the first online version with real-time updates linked to background information on WFP operations in individual countries. It is also designed for use as an education tool in schools.

Crises highlighted in the inaugural edition include: Darfur, west Sudan, where WFP is struggling against lack of security, heavy rains and logistical obstacles to feed over 1 million people displaced by civil conflict; the worst floods to sweep Bangladesh in 30 years, which have left millions threatened by hunger and disease; severe food shortages in the Andean mountains of Peru caused by freak freezing weather; and Afghanistan – plagued by war, drought and poverty.

The red band spreads across sub-Saharan Africa, where one in three people suffers hunger, and stretches into Afghanistan, Cambodia, Mongolia and Haiti. In these regions hunger claims more lives than AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined.

The orange band tracks the Equator, stretching from Central Africa through India and the Philippines to Central America. Clicking on each country gives more detailed information about the number of undernourished as a percentage of the total population and on WFP efforts to fight their hunger.

The green shading is limited to North America, Canada, Argentina, Europe and Australia, but varying degrees of undernourishment dominate the rest of the world.


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