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Extreme poverty must be seen as reality not a statistic - Pope

Extreme poverty must be seen as reality not a statistic - Pope

Italy

Pope Francis has tasked the world to start seeing extreme hunger as a reality rather than a statistic.

The head of the Roman Catholic church made the call during his first visit to the World Food Programme (WFP) offices in Rome on Monday, calling on world governments to help the organization achieve zero hunger.

“We need to “de-naturalise” extreme poverty, to stop seeing it as a statistic rather than a reality. Why? Because poverty has a face. It has the face of a child, it has the face of a family; it has the face of people, young and old. It has the face of widespread unemployment and lack of opportunity. It has the face of forced migrations and of empty or destroyed homes. We cannot “naturalise” the fact that so many people are starving. We cannot simply say that their situation is the result of blind fate and that nothing can be done about it.”

We need to "de-naturalise" extreme poverty, to stop seeing it as a statistic rather than a reality. Why? Because poverty has a face. It has the face of a child, it has the face of a family; it has the face of people, young and old.

He said hunger was one of the major threats to peace in the world and everyone needed to play a part in trying to resolve it.

“Little by little we are growing immuned to other people’s tragedies, seeing them as “natural.” We are bombarded by so many images that we see pain, but do not touch it; we hear weeping, but do not comfort it; we see thirst but do not satisfy it. All those human lives turn into one more news story. While the headlines may change, the pain, the hunger and the thirst remain; they do not go away. This tendency or temptation demands something more from us.”

The Pope lamented what he referred to as the “naturalization” of hunger in today’s modern, interconnected world. He has also urged the Member States to decisively increase their commitment to cooperating with the World Food Programme.

WFP is the world’s largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide, delivering food assistance in emergencies and working with communities to improve nutrition and build resilience. Each year, WFP assists some 80 million people in around 80 countries.