Eight Facts On Disasters, Hunger and Nutrition

Disasters disproportionately affect the world’s poorest people and communities, significantly increasing hunger and malnutrition. Hunger and malnutrition increase people's exposure to risk.  Because of this, disaster risk reduction is a central priority for the World Food Programme (WFP). 

Here are some key facts on the link between disasters and hunger.


1) More than 80 percent of the world’s most food-insecure people live in countries prone to natural disasters with high levels of environmental degradation.

2) Above ten percent of the world’s population (980 million people) live on less than US$1.25 a day in rural areas where they depend on agriculture and face increasing disaster risk.

3) By 2050 hunger and child malnutrition could increase by up to 20 percent as a result of climate-related disasters.

4) More than 20 percent of the variations in height in developing countries is determined by environmental factors, particularly drought. 

5) Studies from Bangladesh show increased wasting and stunting rates among preschool children after floods due to reduced access to food, increased difficulties in providing proper care and greater exposure to contaminants.

6) In the Philippines over the last two decades, 15 times as many infants have died in the 24 months following typhoon events as died in the typhoons themselves; most of them were infant girls.

7) Droughts have severe impacts on the dietary diversity and reduces overall food consumption. In Niger, regardless of the birth location, children born during a drought are more than twice as likely to be malnourished between the ages of one and two.

8) Hunger cannot be eliminated in our lifetime without building the resilience of vulnerable people to increasing disaster risk and climate change.

Learn more about hunger and malnutrition from WFP's comprehensive list of Facts About Hunger and Malnutrition.


Fact 1: INFORM, 2014. INFORM Natural Hazard Composite Indicator
Fact 2: EM-DAT, 2014. International Disaster Database
Fact 3: IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report (AR5)
Fact 4: Silventoinen, K. 2003. Determinants of variation in adult body height. Journal of Biosocial Sciences,35:263–285)
Fact 5: .Del Ninno, C., Dorosh, P.A. and Smith, L.C. 2003. ‘Public policy, markets and household coping strategies in Bangladesh: Avoiding a food security crisis following the 1998 floods’. World Development 31(7): 1221–1238.
Fact 6: Hsiang and Anttila-Hughes, 2013. Destruction, Disinvestment, and Death: Economic and Human Losses Following Environmental Disaster