wrong place at the wrong time

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Posted by Liz ( on January 21, 2002 at 02:14:59:

More than 800 million people go hungry in developing countries alone - not because of sudden crisis or drought, but as part of every-day life

The richest 20 per cent of the world's people eat 11 times as much meat and seven times as much fish as the poorest 20 percent.

Imagine 300 jumbo jets crashing every day with no survivors.

Imagine 40 million people - half of them children - dying every year just because they were on the wrong flight. Would that draw your attention? Would that generate your outrage?

40 million people die every year just like that. Not because they were on the wrong flight but because they were born in the wrong place at the wrong time. They go hungry and have no roof over their head. Two billion people on this planet fall ill simply because they have no clean water to drink.

One third of all children in developing countries are too short for their age, too thin for their height, blind, or slow - just because they don't get enough to eat, or can't afford the right food.

Billions of human beings are missing things we take for granted in our food - 250 million children don't get enough Vitamin A, 1.5 billion people don't get enough iodine, and two billion people don't get enough iron. So the children who survive will grow into adults who are already handicapped in some way.

And 1.3 billion people - one third of the population of the developing world - live on less than 300 dollars a year. Less than what you could spend in a single day for a pair of jeans, sunglasses and a couple of CD's.

It's all too remote, you are thinking. Besides, what can you do? A lot. Poverty, remember, is not only in distant places like Namibia and Haiti. Look around, it hits much closer to home. In the United States, 20 percent of all children live below the poverty line. And poverty knows no racial or national barriers: two-thirds of America's poor children are white.

The battle over poverty and hunger is one that can be won. In Asia and Latin America, people are having smaller families - and more food is being produced. But in Africa, things could get worse unless the right steps are taken.

It's a fact: just 13 billion dollars a year and the basic health and food needs of the world's poorest people could be met. That's a lot of money. But let's look at this with another lens. Each year, dog and cat lovers in Europe and in the United States spend 18 billion dollars to feed their pets. What is spent to feed the armies of the world every year is more than the total income of the poorest 45 percent of the world's people.

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