Hunger in Europe: The Facts You Didn’t Know

It is a serious and growing problem. Despite being one of the most prosperous regions in the world, millions of people still suffer from food insecurity and malnutrition. While it may not be the most visible issue, it is still a major concern for many countries in the region.

This means that they are unable to get enough food to meet their basic needs on a regular basis. Food aid is one way to address this issue, but it is not enough to ensure everyone has access to sufficient food. We need to look at ways of increasing food security for those living in poverty, as well as providing support for those who are struggling with hunger-related illnesses.

From the causes of hunger to its effects on individuals and communities, we will explore what is driving this crisis and how it can be addressed. By understanding the problem and its impact, we can take steps toward finding a solution for this pressing issue. 

Old Women resting on the bed

What is the Cause of severe food insecurity in Europe

There are many causes of hunger in European countries. One of the most significant causes is poverty. Poverty is the main cause, as people cannot afford to buy enough food to meet their needs. Other causes include natural disasters, conflict, and displacement. It can also be caused by poor nutrition, as people may not have access to nutritious foods or may not be able to afford them.

According to Eurostat, the European Union’s statistical agency, poverty rates have increased. In 2021, 95.4 million people in the EU, representing 21.7% of the population, were at risk of poverty or social exclusion, i.e. lived in households experiencing at least one of the three poverty and social exclusion risks (risk of poverty, severe material and social deprivation and/or living in a household with very low work intensity). This is a slight increase compared with 2020 (94.8 million; 21.6% of the population). 

Among the 95.4 million people in the EU that faced the risk of poverty or social exclusion, some 5.9 million (1.3% of the total population) lived in households experiencing all three poverty and social exclusion risks simultaneously.

Elderly waiting for the people donation

In 2021, 73.7 million people in the EU were at risk of poverty, while 27.0 million were severely materially and socially deprived, and 29.3 million lived in a household with low work intensity. 

The risk of poverty or social exclusion varied across the EU Member States. The highest shares of people at risk of poverty or social exclusion were recorded in Romania (34%), Bulgaria (32%), Greece and Spain (both 28%). 

In contrast, the lowest shares of people at risk of poverty or social exclusion were recorded in Czechia (11%), Slovenia (13%) and Finland (14%).

Other causes of hunger in European countries include conflict and natural disasters. For example, the ongoing conflict in Ukraine has led to widespread food insecurity in the country. According to the United Nations World Food Programme, over four million people in Ukraine are food insecure, including three million who are severely food insecure. Similarly, the 2015 earthquake in Nepal led to a significant increase in hunger levels in the country.

Women carrying his child inside the shelter

Another cause is poor nutrition and diets. Poor nutrition can lead to a number of health problems, including obesity, which can make it difficult to access and afford healthy meals. In addition, some people may not have enough knowledge about proper nutrition and how to cook healthy meals. As a result, they may end up eating unhealthy foods that do not provide their bodies with the nutrients they need.

Children playing on the slide

How Hunger Affects People and Communities

It has a number of negative effects on people’s health, well-being, and productivity. Malnutrition can lead to stunted growth, weakened immune systems, and increased susceptibility to illness. Hungry children are more likely to miss school and perform poorly when they do attend classes.

Adults who are hungry are less productive at work and more likely to fall ill. It also affects communities as well as individuals. When members of a community are affected by this, the whole community suffers. Poor nutrition can lead to increased crime rates and violence, as well as decreased economic productivity

Person hugging each other

 Strategies to Help Those in Need

There are many strategies that can be employed to help reduce food insecurity in Europe

1. Provide financial assistance to those who are struggling to make ends meet

The current economic crisis has put a strain on many people’s finances, leaving them struggling to make ends meet. It is essential that we provide financial assistance to those who are in need of it. There are several strategies that can be employed to help those who are struggling financially. These include offering grants, providing low- interest rates loans, and creating incentives for businesses to hire and retain employees. Additionally, providing job training and career counseling can help individuals gain the skills they need to find better-paying jobs. By taking these steps, we can help those who are in need of financial assistance get back on their feet and move forward with their lives.

2. Volunteer your time at a local food bank or soup kitchen

One of the most effective ways to make an impact is by volunteering your time at a local food bank or soup kitchen. This kind of volunteer work allows you to directly help those who are struggling with hunger and provide them with basic necessities such as food, clothing, and other items. By volunteering your time you can make a real difference in the lives of those facing hunger.

Serving food in a remote community area

3. Partner with local food banks and soup kitchens to help distribute food to those in need

To help combat this issue, many organizations have partnered with local food banks and soup kitchens to provide much-needed assistance to those in need. This has been an effective way of ensuring that those who are struggling to make ends meet can get access to nutritious food. It also helps reduce waste by ensuring that surplus food is put to good use instead of ending up in landfills. Through these partnerships, organizations can help make sure that no one goes hungry while also promoting sustainability and reducing waste.

4. Donate money or food to a local food bank or soup kitchen

We all have the power to make a difference and help those in need by donating money, crypto, stocks or food to a local food bank or soup kitchen. With your donations, you can help provide plant-based meals for families who are struggling with hunger and poverty. 

Women serving food on the area during winter

Food for Life Global food aid in Europe

FFLG has been providing Free hot plant-based meals and resources to those displaced by the Ukraine Crisis. FFLG has responded to refugee crises in the past, and we strive to help those impacted in any way that we can.

Through our food and resource programs, FFLG is providing refugees with access to nutritious meals, clean water, medical care and other necessary resources. We are also working with local partners in Ukraine to provide job training opportunities for refugees so they can gain skills that will help them build a better future.

Hunger is a major issue that affects many people in the region. Despite being one of the most developed regions in the world, there are still millions of people who are struggling with food insecurity and malnutrition.

Hunger is an incredibly complex problem that has been exacerbated by economic and environmental challenges such as climate change, poverty, unemployment, and displacement.

The situation is even more dire for those living in rural areas or refugee camps where access to food is limited. It’s essential that we spread awareness about this issue and take action to help those affected. We must work together to ensure that everyone has access to nutritious meals and can lead healthy lives.

Paul Turner

Paul Turner

Paul Turner co-founded Food for Life Global in 1995. He is a former monk, a veteran of the World Bank, entrepreneur, holistic life coach, vegan chef, and author of 6 books, including, FOOD YOGA, 7 maxims for soul happiness.

MR. Turner has traveled to 72 countries over the last 35 years helping to establish Food for Life projects, train volunteers, and document their success.

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