Hunger Situation Desperate In Guatemala

Published on 11 September 2009

 WFP Executive Director Josette Sheeran

Statement by WFP Executive Director Josette Sheeran.

ROME -- The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) expresses its deep concern about the hunger situation in Guatemala, following the announcement by President Alvaro Colom, that a “state of calamity” has been declared to tackle severe food shortages.

Women and children have been caught in the vortex of this hunger crisis and are in a desperate struggle for survival.

The combination of the world economic crisis, high food prices, the drop in remittances, unemployment and poverty, plus the lack of rain produced by El Niño has led to a situation that is threatening the lives of the rural poor.

Nearly 50 per cent of Guatemala’s children under 5 years of age suffer from chronic undernutrition, also known as stunting. According to local authorities, 54,000 families living in the “dry corridor” in the eastern part of the country cannot access the food they need.  The lack of rain has meant that crops of corn and beans have been adversely affected.