Because of war, drought, political instability, high food prices and poverty, hunger now affects one in six people, by the United Nations' estimate.
The financial meltdown has compounded the crisis in what the head of the U.N. Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) called a "devastating combination for the world's most vulnerable."
Compared with last year, there are 100 million more people who are hungry, meaning they consume fewer than 1,800 calories a day, the agency said.
"No part of the world is immune," FAO's Director-General Jacques Diouf said. "All world regions have been affected by the rise of food insecurity."
"A hungry world is a dangerous world," said Josette Sheeran of the World Food Program, "Without food, people have only three options: They riot, they emigrate or they die. None of these are acceptable options."
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