The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The silent tsunami

The world hunger crisis

The large array of gourmet restaurants in Dallas gives SMU students many choices of what and where to eat. But while most of us are deciding between Nobu and Hibiscus, millions of people on the other side of the world are wondering when their next meal will be because of the food shortages overwhelming many nations. The New York Times reported that in Haiti, people are eating cakes made of mud mixed with a little sugar and oil to try and beat the hunger pangs.

Shocking reports about the global hunger crisis have recently overflowed the media, leaving many deeply concerned. However, the vast majority of young people are unaware of this devastating catastrophe that is affecting millions worldwide.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said, “The rapidly escalating crisis of food availability around the world has reached emergency proportions.”

This crisis is not just affecting those in developing nations; it is affecting people in the U.S. as well. Wholesale food retailers such as Sam’s Club and Costco have already started to limit the amount of rice consumers can buy.

According to the ONE Campaign, in three years, the price of staple foods like wheat, corn and rice has almost doubled, and last week World Bank President Robert Zoellick said that if left unchecked, global food shortages could set the world back seven years in the fight against extreme poverty and global disease. The developing world can’t afford to lose that time.

The ONE Campaign also reported that the upward spiral of food prices and the resulting hunger crisis has caused riots from Haiti to Bangladesh. In Haiti, violent protests have already taken down the government. Similar expressions of frustration and fear have broken out in a dozen countries from Cameroon to Uzbekistan, with experts warning that 33 countries are at risk of social upheaval because of the rising food prices.

Without action, 100 million people around the world will face deeper poverty and hunger, and hundreds of thousands will confront famine and starvation.

For people in the developing world, affording enough food to eat is becoming a daily struggle for survival. Today in Bangladesh, a two-kilogram bag of rice can cost a family half their daily income. If prices continue to increase, they will be forced to stop eating.

More than 850 million people are already going hungry every day according to the World Food Program. The hunger crisis is not going away. Prices will keep rising, and more people will go hungry unless we make historic investments to help impoverished countries grow more food.

Food assistance needs to be matched with investment in agricultural development to break the cycle of hunger. A comprehensive approach is needed to increase agricultural productivity in poor countries including infrastructure investment, improved technology and better access to water, seeds, tools and fertilizer.

For most SMU students, the availability of food has never been an issue. Some might have to eat in for a couple of nights or resort to the Dollar Menu at McDonald’s, but never are they forced to eat mud cakes or starve for days on end.

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