World Bulletin / News Desk
The number of poor Americans who repeatedly ran short of food shot up by 800,000 in 2011 to nearly 17 million compared with 2010, the U.S. government said on Wednesday.
The Department of Agriculture said in a report that about 5.5 percent of Americans, or nearly 17 million, suffered "very low food security" last year, meaning they had to skip meals or not eat for a day because of a lack of money to buy food. That is a rise of 800,000 over the prior year, it said.
The food-security report was released one day after the government said that a record 46.7 million Americans were enrolled for food stamps in June, up by 173,000 in May.
High unemployment and slow growth since the deep 2008-2009 recession has driven enrollment in food stamps, the major U.S. anti-hunger program, to record levels.
The cost of food aid to the poor is an election-year issue, with Republicans calling for large cuts in food stamps and Medicaid to help reduce the deficit. Democrats say the cuts are too deep.
This year is likely to be even more problematic for hunger prevention because jobless benefits are running out for tens of thousands of long-term unemployed workers, said Jim Weil, head of the anti-hunger group Food Research and Action Center.
The overall food-insecurity rate for individuals was 16.4 percent, almost unchanged since 2008, when it surged to the highest levels since the Agriculture Department began monitoring food security in 1995.
Food-security issues were greatest in the South, in inner cities across the nation, in families with a single parent, in Black and Hispanic households and in households with children.
Mississippi and Arkansas were the states with the highest rate at 19.2 percent, and North Dakota was lowest at 7.8 percent.
Almost everyone who experienced very low food security said they ran short of food and didn't have the money to buy more. Some 97 percent said they cut back on the amount they ate or skipped a meal, while 91 percent said it happened often throughout the year.
Nearly half said they lost weight because they did not have enough to eat, according to the report.
Jobless rate drops below 20 percent for first time in 6 years, despite Spain lacking agreed government for last 10 months
The airlines, owned by flag carrier Lufthansa, are locked in disputes with the Ufo flight attendants union.
Stoltenberg said NATO had just launched its own Operation Sea Guardian in the Mediterranean to help support Operation Sophia.
Belgium has effectively blocked the deal, which must be endorsed by all 28 EU member states.
No casualties reported from quake, which was felt as far away as Rome
The incident takes place Tuesday in Qalqilya, northern West bank
Consultative meetings also due next week on forming a government of reconciliation in Libya
'There are no more migrants in the camp.' says Pas-de-Calais prefect Fabienne Buccio
At least 3,800 people have died, making 2016 the deadliest ever, says UNHCR spokesman
In Kenya, Rockefeller Foundation panel says 1/3 of food never makes if from farm to table
Iraqi army, meanwhile, captures strategic oilfield northeast of ISIL-held city
Syria-bound flotilla no longer to stop in Cueta, saving Spain from further criticism
Foreign minister says despite differences, Berlin views Ankara as important for Syria, wider Middle East
Bashir had abolished the post of prime minister when he came to power in 1989
MSF said its chartered rescue ship, the Bourbon Argos, picked up 107 people aboard the boat 26 nautical miles off Libya on Tuesday.
A state of emergency was established following waves of anti-government protests, mainly in Oromia region