Letter to the Editor

A fraction of the military expenditure could eliminate poverty

811 million people on this earth are starving. 41 million are on the brink of famine. What should be positively mentioned is that it is often possible for the World Food Programme and other helping agencies to alleviate the greatest need. However, the emergency situation is in many places too great: In Somalia, from October to December 2021, 3.5 million people will require humanitarian help. Somalia has approximately 14.4 million inhabitants. In Somalia, approximately 1.2 million children under the age of five are acutely malnourished and require help. Droughts, flooding, the locust plague and the civil war, which has been going on for 30 years, are the main reasons for the hunger crisis in Somalia. Our organisation, Swisso Kalmo is active in this country for over thirty years. (www.swisso-kalmo.ch) The budget of the World Food Programme in 2021 was 7.4 million US Dollars. However, 12.3 billion are actually necessary. That is a lot of money. If one were to compare this amount with the global arms spending, then 12.3 billion US Dollars is small amount. 1981 billion US Dollars have been invested by countries all over the world for their armies last year. That is 161 times more than it would take for the World Food Programme to alleviate the greatest need on earth. With a fraction of the world’s military expenditure, it would be possible to provide everyone with enough food and clean drinking water, to provide them with medical care and enable all children to be able to attend school.

Heinrich Frei, Zuirich

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