South American and Central American Hunger
South America and Central America are devastated by hunger and in some cases could be considered the areas with the most problems from hunger. The effects of this can be overwhelming and many do not wish to feel hunger effects but they do anyway. The countries I will cover are Bolivia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Peru. I will try to cover the facts of hunger in these parts of South and Central America, such as causes, effects, and things that are currently being done to stop it.
Of all the countries in South America, Bolivia is the most isolated and the poorest. Nine and a half million people live below the poverty line in Bolivia. The main cause of food shortage is accessibility to food and low income, so some people are not able to get enough food. One effect of hunger is that 40% of children below 5 years of age are not able to get their food needs met. Another is that 63% of households cannot provide the minimum caloric intake needed to survive. The WFP (United Nations World Food Programme) is working on this problem. One solution is to contribute in the reduction of children not getting enough protein by promoting healthy eating habits. Also, they are making sure more kids get an education so they won't live in poverty. Finally, the U.N. is enhancing emergency readiness so Bolivia will be prepared for natural disasters and food supplies will not be severely diminished.
There is a population of 13 million people in Ecuador and it sells oil to other countries. Even with the oil, it is a very poor country because a lot of its people are not able to benefit from the oil industry. Sixty-one percent of the population lives in poverty. The main cause of hunger and malnutrition is the poverty. One effect is that twenty-six percent of children have stunted growth. At one point Ecuador was receiving food aid from other countries and now they are trying to fix things themselves by making new government programs. One program the government has implemented is providing food aid for Columbian refugees living in Ecuador to make sure they get at least a meal a day.
The population of El Salvador is 5.7 million people. It is not a poor country but 16.3 percent of rural families do not have enough money to afford food. El Salvador has many causes for its hunger problems. They are natural disasters such as earthquakes, insufficient food production, high price of food, and low education levels. One effect is that 19% of kids under the age of 5 do not get enough food. Also, the amount of hungry people has jumped from 30.7% to 34.6%. Some solutions may include school meals, local food markets, emergency preparedness by stocking up on food supplies, and much more.
Seventy percent of Guatemala’s population lives in poverty. Most people that are poor in Guatemala are young and live in rural areas. They are born in the rural areas and live there their whole lives. A big cause of hunger in the rural area is that minimum wage jobs can only pay for 75% of food costs. Also, Guatemala is prone to natural disasters that threaten its food supply and people’s jobs. As a result, in the rural areas, 49.3% of kids under 5 are hungry. One main thing that is being done is schools are giving meals for the day to these children. Also, healthcare is being provided for mothers and children so they do not get sick from malnutrition.
The main cause of hunger in Honduras is natural disasters such as earthquakes, hurricanes, and floods. One effect is that 25% of children under 5 have a very poor diet which leads to diseases. Also, in some rural areas, 48.5% of the people have a poor diet and fall ill. Finally, 0.68% of the country lives with HIV/AIDS. One thing that is being done is school meals are being provided for free to children every day at school. Also, people are increasing natural disaster preparedness so they will have food to turn to in case of an emergency or if crops do not grow.
Peru has many different causes of hunger. They are natural disasters, extreme living conditions, difficult access to food, and low education levels. Also, 53% of Peru's population lives below the poverty line and 25% live in extreme poverty. Twenty-four percent of children under the age of 5 are not getting enough food and in isolated areas that number can reach 70%. Almost 50% of children under the age of 5 suffer from a hunger related disease called anemia which is caused by not having enough iron in the blood. That number can range from 60 to 70% in the highlands. One of the biggest things that is being done is that help is arriving quickly to scenes of natural disasters to give the people affected food and shelter. Also, there are programs to help people get better jobs by giving them a better education.