Hunger, poverty rates in Egypt up sharply over past three years: UN report

May 22, 2013 9:24 am 

UNITED NATIONS, May 22 — Poverty and food insecurity have risen significantly in Egypt over the past three years, deputy UN spokesman Eduardo del Buey told reporters here Tuesday, citing a joint report by the World Food Programme (WFP) and the Egyptian government.

"A joint report by the World Food Programme and the country's government found that nearly 14 million Egyptians — or 17 percent of the population — suffered from food insecurity in 2011, compared to 14 percent in 2009," del Buey said at a daily news briefing.

"Data also shows that between 2009 and 2011, some 15 percent of the population moved into poverty," he said.

"This increase in food insecurity, malnutrition and poverty rates has not happened overnight, during this year or even during the past year," said WFP Egypt Representative and Country Director GianPietro Bordignon.

"People's inability to have adequate and nutritious food is largely attributed to rising poverty rates and a succession of crises from 2005 — including the avian influenza epidemic in 2006, the food, fuel and financial crises of 2007-09 and a challenging macroeconomic context in recent years," Bordignon said.

The joint report also showed the poorest families spend more than half of their average households on food and often buy less expensive, less nutritious food.

Malnutrition is up, with 31 percent of children under five years of age stunted, up from 23 percent in 2005, the report said. (PNA/Xinhua)

FPV/EBP

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