|Children queue for lunch at the Hatcliffe Primary One school in the suburban community of Hatcliffe, Zimbabwe.|
NEW YORK, 15 October 2005 - Today, hundreds of millions of people in the world are still suffering from hunger and malnutrition. October 16 is World Food Day, and UNICEF is calling on the international community to recognize access to food as a basic right for every child.
UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman marked World Food Day by calling for increased focus on mother and child nutrition as the backbone of a healthy start in life. She said ensuring that women and children are well-nourished is essential to helping reach the Millennium Development Goals, because sound nutrition is central to health, learning, and well-being.
“Malnutrition takes a devastating toll on children,” Veneman said. “Some 10.6 million children die before the age of five every year, half of them due to causes related to malnutrition.”
UNICEF Chief of Nutrition Rainer Gross said, "The World Food Day is a day when we should remember that still about 900 million people have not enough food. For us, living in a better social economic situations, we tend sometimes to forget that."
Every day, some 300 million children go to bed hungry. The recent food crisis in Niger affected more than 3.6 million people, and nearly a third of them children.
"UNICEF has to continue to call on all parts of the society, remind all nations, that there is a right to food and particularly those who are the most vulnerable, who are the marginalized in society," said Mr. Gross.
Working together, UNICEF and governments around the world are determined to halve the number of people who suffer from hunger by the year 2015.
15 October 2005: On World Food Day, UNICEF calls on the international community to recognize access to food as a basic right for every child.