People in poverty generally spend between 60 and 80 percent of their income on food, which can force them to prioritize feeding their families over meeting other basic needs or reaching long-term goals, like sending their children to school.
If an emergency strikes, they may need to skip meals in order to cope financially — and the cycle of hunger continues.
Hunger can also stem from inadequate food systems, like a lack of road infrastructure to connect people to markets, or poor storage facilities, through which food gets wasted and never reaches those who need it.
Extreme weather, like drought or flooding, can be devastating for pastoralists — like Ali in Ethiopia — who rely on regular rains to supply water and fodder for their herds.
And in four countries – South Sudan, Somalia, Yemen, and northeastern Nigeria – 20 million people are facing severe food insecurity and looming famine.
The United Nations and its agencies including the World Food Programme (WFP), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and the International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD) are working to reduce hunger by getting emergency food supplies to families in crisis, improving agricultural and food production, building resilience in communities, and other steps vital to eliminating hunger and malnutrition.
Learn more about the global goal to eradicate global hunger by 2030, and about the other Sustainable Development Goals. UN agencies and other humanitarian partners urgently need funding to combat famine and hunger worldwide.
Donate here to WFP, the largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide. Let your leaders, friends, families, and social networks know that you care about ending hunger, you support the UN’s work, and you believe we need to provide funding and other resources to the UN and partners working to reach the goal of zero hunger.
Food is central to human well-being: it provides the body with nourishment, offers livelihoods that lift people out of poverty, and brings communities together.
Although food is a basic human need, too many people are trapped in a cycle of hunger by forces beyond their immediate control, like poverty, disaster, conflict and inequality.