What happens when there is food insecurity?

Malnutrition: Malnutrition can be a devastating effect on those who are food insecure. Weakened muscles and cognitive issues are side effects of malnutrition and can make it near impossible for malnutrition individuals to improve their strength or even maintain their livelihoods.


Stunting: Stunting occurs when a child does not receive the proper nutrition during the first 1,000 days from conception to their second birthday. Stunting causes children unable to mentally or physically develop to where they otherwise would, irreversibly damaging their well-being and future development. This issue is very common in countries affected by food insecurity. For example, over one-third of children are affected by stunting in Liberia – a country ranked the six hungriest in the world by our Global Hunger Index.

Mental Health Issues: A recent study on food insecurity in Ethiopia shows that those facing food insecurity are more likely to suffer from both depression and anxiety.

The combined effects on mental and physical health create a poor quality of life for those who are food insecure.

What is the most food-insecure country?

Every country has people who experience food insecurity. However, the magnitude of these issues is far greater in some countries than others.

According to our 2020 Global Hunger Index, these are the current top 10 hungriest countries.

10. Nigeria – Inequality plays a huge role in food insecurity in Nigeria. In regions such as Lagos, child mortality is around 3%. However, in the Kebbi state, 66% of children are stunted due to malnutrition and the mortality rate jumps to 25%.

9. Afghanistan – Afghanistan has been devastated by drought in recent years. However, the countries plentiful natural resources, as well as its engaged government, gives hope that food security will greatly improve. This will be achieved through interventions targeting gender equality and the effects of climate change.

8. Lesotho – 70% of the population of Lesotho rely on subsistence farming for their food and livelihood. After devastating droughts in recent years, crop failures led to a surge in acute levels of food insecurity as a huge portion of the population was affected. 

7. Sierra Leone – Sierra Leone has made huge strides in improving food stability since the turn of the century. Despite these strides, 26% of the population of Sierra Leone still faces chronic hunger.

6. Liberia – Much of the food insecurity in Liberia stems from difficulties relating to the country’s 13-year civil war, which ended in 2001. Today, 16% of families in Liberia are food insecure.

5. Mozambique – Mozambique had made great improvements in food security at points in the last decade. Unfortunately, Mozambique re-entered the list of the ten hungriest countries in 2020, with nearly one-third of Mozambicans facing chronic hunger.

4. Haiti – Haiti remains the hungriest country in the Western hemisphere, making very limited progress over the last 20 years. Political instability and a devastating string of natural disasters has made this progress difficult to advance.

3. Madagascar – This is the first of three countries to be classified as having ‘alarming’ food insecurity. A large increase in undernourishment rates in the last 10 years, coupled with the challenges now being faced due to COVID-19, has led the UN to warn that there may soon be unprecedented levels of hunger in Madagascar and neighboring nations.

2. Timor-leste– One-third of the people in Timor-leste suffer from food insecurity. A combination of issues relating to access, availability and quality of food available has meant that more than half of the children in Timor-leste are stunted.

1. Chad – Climate change and the need for emergency food assistance in Chad have contributed to widespread food insecurity. Ranking in the top three hungriest countries for the last three years, Chad’s levels of undernourishment, stunting, and child mortality paint a somber picture of the world’s hungriest nation.

At Hope Donors, one of the main focuses is on poverty and hunger. Therefore, we are actively sending help such as food, clean water, or supplements for people who are facing starvation and malnutrition. For more updates on our activities, please follow our social media.