In a World of Plenty Why Is There a Scandal of Starvation?

WILLS POINT, TX — Gospel for Asia (GFA World and affiliates like Gospel for Asia Canada) founded by KP Yohannan, issued a Special Report on the ugly truths of world hunger: “Scandal of Starvation” — world hunger is a long-term social and global crisis, directly or indirectly causing around 9 million deaths each year — more than AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis combined.

There are many things wrong with our broken world, from prejudice and violence to modern-day slavery. The United Nations has identified 16 top enemies of humankind, with ambitious aims to tame if not defeat them by 2030. But have you ever paused to wonder what subjects top Jesus’s list of great ills?

In March 2016, 4 month-old Farhan Abbas was accompanied by his grandmother to SC Children’s Hospital in Punjab, Pakistan, where he was diagnosed with severe wasting and provided immediate nourishment. © UNICEF/UN0281410/Pirozzi

Hunger is one of them. Shortly before His betrayal, Jesus spoke to His disciples about the coming judgment, when everyone will appear before Him. He told of those who will inherit the kingdom prepared from the foundation of the world, and why.

“For I was hungry and you gave Me food,” he began (Matthew 25:35). He went on to name the thirsty, the strangers, the naked, the sick, and the imprisoned. Meeting their needs was also a reflection of God’s kingdom, He said. But He recognized empty bellies first.

Perhaps that is because it is hard to hear anything else above the rumble of an empty stomach. Words of hope for a better tomorrow — whether practical advice or spiritual encouragement — tend to fall on deaf ears when someone has eaten little or nothing for too long.

Gospel for Asia (GFA) founder K.P. Yohannan said, “If you see a dying man begging on the street, how can you share the Good News with him and not give him something to eat?”

When hunger muffles your hearing, it’s not because of frustration but physiology. When you are hungry, your body starts to do what it can to conserve energy. Like a computer, it shuts down peripheral programs. In the short term, hunger makes it harder for you to concentrate. Over time, it makes it harder for you to understand. You go from not having the desire to learn to not having the ability.

Every day, many children around the world, don’t get enough nutritious food to eat. But kids enrolled at Bridge of Hope Centers throughout Asia receive a healthy, balanced meal every day, along with a daily education, school supplies, and regular medical checkups.

Consider the student fainting's last year that became common at the Augusto D’Aubeterre Lyceum school in Boca de Uchire, Venezuela, in the wake of the country’s severe economic crisis. They occurred because so many students went to class without eating breakfast, or dinner the night before, reported The New York Times. At other schools, children wanted to know if there would be any food before they decided whether to go at all. “You can’t educate skeletal and hungry people,” one teacher said. Hence hunger is not just a desperate and immediate personal issue. It is also a long-term social and global crisis, directly or indirectly causing around 9 million deaths each year — more than AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis combined. One report has estimated the annual impact on the global economy of malnutrition through lost potential and production to be as much as $3.5 trillion, or $500 for every single person in the world.

That is the financial impact of what Roger Thurow, a Senior Fellow on Global Food and Agriculture at The Chicago Council on Global Affairs, has called malnutrition a “life sentence of underachievement and underperformance.” If you ask why some countries remain poor or why development aid isn’t as effective as possible and doesn’t have the impact many think it should, he said, “it’s because so many kids are getting off to a horrible start in life.”

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Joel Vergara

Joel Vergara

I’m a computer engineering professional with a passion for excellence and success.