SANTIAGO, Nov. 30 (Xinhua) -- The number of people suffering from hunger in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) rose by 13.8 million in 2020, or by 2 percentage points, to reach 59.7 million people, according to a United Nations study released Tuesday in Santiago, Chile.
The report titled "Regional Overview of Food Security and Nutrition 2021: Statistics and Trends" shows regional hunger is at its highest level since 2000, following a 30 percent jump from 2019 to 2020 in the number of people suffering from hunger.
"We must say it loud and clear: Latin America and the Caribbean face a critical situation in terms of food security," regional representative of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Julio Berdegue said in a statement on Tuesday.
Rossana Polastri, the regional director of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), said that while the pandemic aggravated the situation, hunger in the region has been on the rise since 2014.
"We must correct the deep vulnerabilities of our food systems, make them more inclusive and sustainable, and ensure that they provide well-being to the people who feed our societies," Polastri said.
LAC's hunger rate currently stands at 9.1 percent, the highest in 15 years, although slightly below the global average of 9.9 percent.
The study is a joint publication of the FAO, IFAD, Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization, World Food Program and UN Children's Fund.