ROME - The United Nations World Food Programme has added longitude and latitude to its hunger awareness campaign with the publication of an interactive map plotting the location of the world's hungriest people in real-time.
The WFP "Hunger Map", clickable on the agency's website (www.wfp.org), charts the geography of hunger hotspots around the world by allowing visitors to navigate to the frontlines of the agency's global fight against hunger.
Hunger crises highlighted on the inaugural edition include: the humanitarian crisis in Darfur, western Sudan, where WFP is struggling against insecurity, heavy rains and logistical obstacles to feed over one 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 weather; and Afghanistan plagued by war, drought and poverty.
The "Hunger Map" also maps the world's ever growing numbers of hungry and malnourished people, linking to background information on WFP operations in individual countries.
"There are more than 800 million undernourished women, men and children in the world, but how many people know where they live?" said James T. Morris, WFP Executive Director. "The WFP "Hunger Map" puts them on the map."
WFP first plotted the coordinates of the world's most vulnerable hungry four years ago with a printed "Hunger Map", but this is the first online version giving the Agency a platform to highlight the world's major food emergencies in real-time.
The "Hunger Map" is also designed as an online education tool to be used in schools and other institutions to teach the geography of hunger. It will be available on a CD-Rom together with WFP's ‘Counting the Hungry' interactive presentation - a comprehensive guide to the why, what and how of the agency's mission to stop global hunger.
These tools will help children, parents and teachers understand why hunger and malnutrition are now considered the number one global risks to health.
The band of red - indicating high levels of undernourishment - spreads across sub-Saharan Africa, where one in three people suffer from hunger, and stretches into Afghanistan, Cambodia, Mongolia and Haiti. In these parts of the world, hunger claims more lives than AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined.
An orange band of moderately undernourished countries 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 people as a proportion of total population and WFP efforts to fight their hunger.
Green shading - indicating extremely low levels of undernourishment - is limited to North America, Canada, Argentina, Europe and Australia. Varying degrees of undernourishment dominate the rest of the world.
Print versions of the WFP Hunger Map (95x68cm) can be ordered in English, French, Spanish or Italian at www.wfp.org by clicking on the WFP around the World logo on the site's home page and selecting Hunger Map.
Note to Editors: In view of the funding difficulties WFP is currently facing for its Darfur emergency operation, if you are listing organisations to which your readers can donate, please include our website for online contributions and a source of further information on the unfolding crisis. www.wfp.org
WFP is the world's largest humanitarian agency: in 2003 we gave food aid to a record 104 million people in 81 countries, including 56 million hungry children.
WFP Global School Feeding Campaign For just 19 US cents a day, you can help WFP give children in poor countries a healthy meal at school -- a gift of hope for a brighter future.
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