Oct 15, Colombo: Sri Lanka has the least number of hungry people in the South Asian region, results of a global survey on the hunger levels released yesterday showed.
Sri Lanka ranking 43rd fared much better on the 2013 Global Hunger Index (GHI), released for the eighth year by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), Welthungerhilfe, and Concern Worldwide, compares to its South Asian neighbors.
The Index identifies hunger levels and hot spots across 120 developing countries and countries in transition.
The countries have been given a score based on three equally weighted indicators: the proportion of people who are undernourished, the proportion of children under five who are underweight, and the mortality rate of children under five.
Sri Lanka received a score of 15.6 on the three factors in 2013 and is listed in the 'serious' category. Sri Lanka's GHI has fallen 30 percent from a score of 22.3 in 1990.
The 2013 Index indicates that global hunger is decreasing and on average the 2013 world GHI score has fallen by 34 percent from the 1990 GHI score. In South Asia the index has fallen 34.2 percent from 31.5 in 1990 to 20.7 in 2013.
In Sri Lanka, 24.0 percent of the population was undernourished in the years 2010 -2012 and 21.6 percent of children under five years were underweight.
The Under-five mortality rate which indicates the deaths of children under five years of age in Sri Lanka is at 1.2 percent in 2011, the lowest in the region.
In comparison the nearest neighbor, India ranked at 67th position with a score of 21.3 on the GHI in the "Alarming" category.
According to the latest GHI data, over 40 percent children under five years of age were underweight and 6.1 percent of children die before five years of age.
Overall, both Pakistan scoring 19.3 and Bangladesh a decimal behind Pakistan fared better than India at 57th and 58th positions respectively while Nepal ranked higher at 49th with a score of 17.3.
According to the Index, global hunger still remains "serious," with 19 countries suffering from levels of hunger that are either "alarming" or "extremely alarming" and South Asia has the highest regional GHI score indicating highest levels of hunger among populations.