October 14, 2022
DACA – The severity of hunger in Bangladesh has been reduced, according to the Global Hunger Index (GHI) 2022.
Bangladesh has progressed to “moderate” from “serious” status and ranks 84th out of 121 countries, according to the report released yesterday.
Among neighbours, Sri Lanka and Nepal fared better securing 64th and 81st places.
Pakistan was ranked 99th, India 107th and Afghanistan 109th, according to the report published jointly by the Irish aid agency Concern Worldwide and the German organization Welt Hunger Hilfe.
The report gave countries scores between zero and 100, with zero being the best.
Despite the fact that Bangladesh achieved the status of “moderate” with a score of 19.6, it is still borderline.
According to the GHI, a score of 10 to 19.9 refers to “moderate” status, while 20 to 34.9 means “severe” status.
Scores between 35 and 49.9 indicate “alarming” hunger, while a score below 9.9 indicates “low” hunger.
Bangladesh has progressed in the last two decades in the state of hunger. According to the Index, the country was in “serious” status between 2000 and 2014. It scored 33.9 in 2000 and 26.3 in 2014.
The report says: “This year’s index brings us face to face with a grim reality. The toxic cocktail of conflict, climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic had already left millions of people exposed to food price shocks and vulnerable to further shocks.
“Now the war in Ukraine, with its knock-on effects on world supply and prices of food, fertilizer and fuel, is turning a crisis into a catastrophe.”
Russia and Ukraine account for about 12 percent of the total calories traded in the world. Some 50 nations that rely on Russia and Ukraine for most of their wheat imports, including Bangladesh, Egypt, Iran and Turkey, have struggled to find alternative suppliers, he says.
“The consequences of this interruption could be devastating,” it said.
When food prices go up, it doesn’t just mean people should tighten their belts or pay more for their meals. For those already on the brink of famine, it could mean literally starving to death.
Food inflation can destabilize markets and even precipitate the overthrow of governments, as happened in Sri Lanka, whose experience serves as a warning to the rest of the world, says the report.
Although Bangladesh has made progress in combating undernutrition, child wasting and child mortality, it still lags behind in “child stunting”.
Contacted, Khaleda Islam, director of the Institute of Nutrition and Food Science, said the government has a lot to do to tackle child stunting.
He said there was no possibility of famine.
“If the situation deteriorates further, the government would have to expand its social safety net programs. Existing social safety net programs are sufficient to address the current situation,” he added.
In its recommendations, the report says that governments must respect, protect and fulfill the right to food, which must be enshrined in law and supported by mechanisms for redress of grievances.