10/02/2018, 09.12
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Estimated one million children go hungry in Sri Lanka, warns NGO

by Melani Manel Perera

The data revealed in a report by the Asian Human Rights Commission, published on the occasion of World Children's Day. To draw attention to the issue of malnutrition, shows, competitions and games are being held among children.

Colombo (AsiaNews) - In Sri Lanka almost one million children are  hungry and suffer from malnourishment, while the number of children with the effects of malnutrition has increased over the past five years. This was revealed by a study on child poverty conducted by the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC), on the occasion of the World Children's Day on the island which is celebrated on the first of October.

To draw attention to the issue of malnutrition, a march was organized at the Independent Square in Colombo, with the aim of eliminating the phenomenon of corporal punishment in schools by 2020.

The AHRC research claims that Sri Lanka "repeatedly tops the ranks in South Asia when it comes to hunger". The association estimates that between 2010 and 2016 the number of underage children, under five years, was 843.913, or 21.4% of the total; at the same time the percentage of those affected by rickets was 14.7.

The data is alarming, considering that in the period between 2006 and 2010 malnourished minors were 13.3% of the total. The numbers put the island top of the four countries worldwide where more than 20% of the children suffer from hunger; the other three are India, Djibouti and South Sudan.

The results are in contradiction with the general trend of the country, which instead witnessed an improvement in food security. According to the Global Hunger Index (Ghi) of 2017, drafted by the International Food Policy Research Institute, in Sri Lanka there is accessibility (54.8%), availability (52.8%), quality and safety ( 49.5%) of food.

Finally, the AHRC analysis shows that the worst situation is found in the most remote and underdeveloped areas of the country, while in large cities the phenomenon is stable. For example, in the capital Colombo, 12% of children are malnourished, that is one percentage point less than in 2006.

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See also
Adoption ban in Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka: the protection of children must be a priority
Child illiteracy and child labour are the continent's main social ills
Hunger emergency in South Asia , Colombo improves
Colombo asked for new economic policy against hunger


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