3 million children will die this year because they dont have enough food

Pic credit Andrew Parsons / i-Images/ Action Against Hunger
Pic credit Andrew Parsons / i-Images/ Action Against Hunger

Yesterday I wrote about charity help in Nepal a year after the earthquake.  About the need for help around the world following disasters.   Today it is about something similar but also at the same time, very different.   It’s about twenty two well known chefs writing to the Prime Minister:

It’s a scandal that in 2016 over 3 million children will needlessly die because they don’t have enough food, simply because of where they were born

That because of geography three million children will die.  Not because of disease but because they don’t have enough to eat.   South Africa has just had its lowest rainfall in a year since 1904 and the impact of that is huge.  In fact it is huge across all of Africa with 32 million people now described by the World Food Programme as “Food Insecure”

in the Man Awan displacement camp in the Warrap State South Sudan. Thousands of children are at risk of dying from hunger in South Sudan as the country is experiencing a devastating humanitarian crisis after years of conflict.
In the Man Awan displacement camp in the Warrap State South Sudan. Thousands of children are at risk of dying from hunger in South Sudan as the country is experiencing a devastating humanitarian crisis after years of conflict.

Ken Hom (OBE), celebrity chef, author and Action Against Hunger ambassador, said

For 40 years I have cared passionately about food. It’s an absolute travesty that in this day and age a child dies from hunger every 10 seconds simply because they don’t have access to nutritious food. That is why I am joining chefs across the country who are uniting to turn our passion for food into a voice for change.

Later this summer in Rio  world leaders will gather at the Nutrition for Growth summit to celebrate progress in the fight against child malnutrition and to make new commitments to drive the world towards an end to malnutrition within a generation.

Malnutrition is responsible for 45 per cent of preventable child deaths – making it one of the world’s most significant development challenges. Yet it remains vastly under-resourced, receiving only 1 per cent of all global development assistance.

That has to change, doesn’t it?

This is the letter that the chefs wrote to the Prime Minister urging him to help:

 

To Prime Minister David Cameron,

It’s a scandal that in 2016 over 3 million children will needlessly die because they don’t have enough food, simply because of where they were born. At the same time, in the UK too many children suffer from irreversible health issues as they are affected by being overweight or obese.

Millions are being robbed of their potential because of malnutrition, both here at home and abroad.

As chefs, our lives revolve around food. We are fortunate enough to operate in a world where we are constantly thinking about what and when we are going to eat, but in many countries children are constantly wondering if they are going to eat.

Every child deserves the best start to life. Ensuring that every child can achieve their dreams – no matter where they are born – starts with good nutrition. That is why we are calling upon you Mr Cameron, as Prime Minister, to ensure the highest level of political attendance at this summer’s Nutrition for Growth summit and tell the world how you plan to improve the lives of children, both here and abroad.

We are looking to you to pledge an additional £530 million for nutrition to fulfil your election promise to bring better nutrition to 50 million women and children in some of the world’s poorest countries.

It’s time to shift the world onto a path of action to meet the global goal of eliminating malnutrition in all its forms by 2030, providing a healthier and brighter future for the next generation of children.

Yours sincerely,

Pascal Aussignac

Nieves Barragan Mohacho

Neil Borthwick

Damian Clisby

Daniel Doherty

Sabrina Ghayour

Steve Groves

Anna Hansen

Angela Hartnett

Ken Hom

James Knappett

Atul Kochhar

Bruno Loubet

Francesco Mazzei

Jamie Oliver

Yotam Ottolenghi

Neil Rankin

Jose Pizarro

Alfred Prasad

Vivek Singh

Jun Tanaka

Cyrus Todiwala

Nutrition is the most basic building block of life. Without it children cannot live happy, healthy lives. Despite there being enough food to feed every person in the world, millions of children are unable to access the nutrition they need to survive and thrive

And that’s a scandal that needs addressing now.

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  • The situation you illustrate is truly frightening – obscene even.
    The world produces enough food for all so the main problem is distribution.
    Snag is this is an almost insolvable problem but it doesn’t, and mustn’t, prevent people trying to stop tragedy after tragedy.
    Equally importantly we must tackle – in parallel – longer term solutions.
    If in certain regions of the planet it is impossible for humans to live for year after year should we continue to bale them out with emergency food, water and tentage using funds raised by good people in the well off lands? Looking at the scene in a cold way we are in fact prolonging and expanding the problem!
    Not a popular view! I accept this but there is some logic in the idea.
    If, this year, we prevent the death of (say) 100 babies then in two years’ time those babies will need at least twice as much food to survive the next natural disaster that hits their community.
    Better by far if the whole populations from disaster areas were relocated in areas of “agricultural stability” – they would survive by their own efforts and need no external emergency aid.
    Maybe they should migrate? To Europe perhaps?
    Now that WOULD be popular.
    Climate change and population control are, in my view, necessary LONG TERM measures to beat this misery, deprivation and death.
    BUT ARE WE READY TO WORK TOGETHER ON THEM??
    I think I know the answer.

    • I hear you. Whilst governments wrangle over putting that into practice though we have to do something immediate. And you know me, I am not one for sitting around waiting for other people to do something 🙂 This is what I can do to help in the meantime. This and raising money to try and help But I agree, if we can get organisations to join up and find a longer term solution it would be great.

      • Neither short-term nor long-term measures ON THEIR OWN are the answer.
        We need both.
        That was my point.