The Hungriest Places On Earth

Residents dry crops outside their homes in 2010 at a collective farm about 12 miles from the center of Pyongyang, North Korea. (Photo: Ian Timberlake, AFP/Getty Images)
Residents dry crops outside their homes in 2010 at a collective farm about 12 miles from the center of Pyongyang, North Korea.
(Photo: Ian Timberlake, AFP/Getty Images)

Between 2010 and 2012, according to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, 870 million people weren’t able to eat enough to satisfy their bodies’ daily requirement for energy.

This Thanksgiving, the average American ate far more than he or she needs to — about 4,500 calories.

Many of us sat around large tables, eating too much, drinking too much, and avoiding conversations about religion or politics. Someone fell into a tryptophan coma. Someone probably joked that we should clean our plates because people are starving in Africa. We were thankful for the 4,500 calories in our bellies. Then it was time to watch professional sports on TV.

Meanwhile, people really are starving all around the world. And it’s worth remembering it after a day of gluttonous food consumption followed by another day — Black Friday — of gluttonous material consumption. Even in the United States, where food assistance programs are being cut, food pantries and charity Thanksgiving meals were packed Thursday.

Elsewhere around the globe, things are much, much worse.

There are several metrics for assessing and describing hunger. This list is arranged by the number of calories available each day to the average person. Actual food consumption can be lower because of food wastage or loss.

Additional categories include: the percentage of a country’s population that is undernourished; the country’s calorie deficit (or the daily number of calories that each undernourished person would need to eat to become nourished); and the Global Hunger Index ranking, which uses a combination of metrics to rank at-risk countries from 1 to 78, with 78 being the most at-risk country.

These are the hungriest countries in the world.

15. North Korea: 2,240 calories available per day

  • Undernourished: 31%
  • Calorie deficit: 238
  • GHI ranking: 51 (tied with Kenya)

14. Rwanda: 2,240 calories available per day

  • Undernourished: 29.7%
  • Calorie deficit: 201
  • GHI ranking: 41

13. Tanzania: 2,210 calories available per day

  • Undernourished: 33%
  • Calorie deficit: 221
  • GHI ranking: 62

12. Kenya: 2,180 calories available per day

  • Undernourished: 25.8%
  • Calorie deficit: 166
  • GHI ranking: 51 (tied with North Korea)

11. Mozambique: 2,180 calories available per day

  • Undernourished: 36.8%
  • Calorie deficit: 269
  • GHI ranking: 64

10. Democratic Republic of Congo: 2,170 calories available per day

  • Undernourished: 33%
  • Calorie deficit: 234
  • GHI ranking: 61

9. Madagascar: 2,160 calories available per day

  • Undernourished: 27.2%
  • Calorie deficit: 176
  • GHI ranking: 70

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SOURCE: USA Today / Global Post
Timothy McGrath

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