World

More than 2,000 Guatemalan Kids Died of Hunger Last Year

More than 2,000 children under 5 died in Guatemala during the first 10 months of 2010 as a consequence of illnesses caused by malnutrition, according to a report presented Friday by the national ombud's office.

The report is based on statistics of the Epidemiology Center of the Public Health Ministry covering the period from Jan. 1-Oct. 31, 2010.

"It's worrying that mortality from hunger is double that of deaths from violence. Thousands of children are estimated to be at risk and there is no sufficient effort being made to save them from this grave situation," ombud Sergio Morales told the media.

Eighty-four percent of the youngsters died at home, without any kind of medical care, according to the report.

Most of the children died of respiratory infections and diarrhea, ailments caused by high levels of malnutrition.

Ministry figures show that one in every two Guatemalan children under 5 suffer from malnutrition, as a consequence of the poverty and extreme poverty in which more than 52 percent of the country's 14.4 million inhabitants live.

Most of the children who died were concentrated in provinces that make up Guatemala's "dry corridor," a strip that runs through the country from east to northeast, which during the last two years has suffered intense droughts blamed on climate change.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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