ROME – U.N. food agencies said Wednesday that 166 million people in 22 countries suffer chronic hunger or difficulty finding enough to eat as a result of what they called protracted food crises.

Wars, natural disasters and poor government institutions have contributed to a continuous state of undernourishment in some 22 nations, including Afghanistan, Haiti, Iraq, Somalia and Sudan, the Food and Agriculture Operation and the World Food Program said in a new report.

A country that reports a food crisis for at least eight years and receives more than 10 percent of its foreign assistance as humanitarian relief is considered to be in a protracted food crisis, the two agencies said — offering the first definition of the term in hopes of improving aid response to these nations.

The other nations in protracted crises are: Angola, Burundi, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, North Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Tajikistan, Uganda and Zimbabwe.

The FAO said last month that the number of hungry people worldwide had dropped below the 1 billion mark to an estimated 925 million people.

Dear Mom, It’s very hard for these kids to get something to eat, because they have to get money by cleaning people’s toilets, digging through dustbins, or washing people’s clothes, in order to get like 500 shillings after very heavy work. Then they can buy food or eat their leftovers of food from the jobs.

Sometimes when there is no work, in order to get food, most kids are forced to go to dustbins and look for anything eatable however dirty or rotten it might be. Because of constant hunger and nothing to eat, they are always forced to eat whatever they find.

But to those who are weak or sick, they just forgo a meal. They can even go 5 to 6 days without eating anything. This always leads to different types of sicknesses. Its so very painful, mom, the way they are suffering. Some kids sell black pills, bottled water, biscuits, etc to travelers or passengers in order to get some little money to buy food.

Some survive by carrying heavy bags of rice, posho, cement, etc in order to get a little money to buy food. But due to constant carrying of heavy bags of cement, they suffer from chest and back pains, yet the money they had been getting from carrying the bags is never enough to pay for their treatment. But because of desperation for food, they continue doing the same job.

Some survive by washing cars in washing bays where they are not even at times paid for their work or even given food. Others who are disabled just sit on the road and beg for money, but most do not get any by the end of the day. They go back with only 300 to 400 (20 cents) which is not even enough to buy one meal.

Others look for empty plastic water bottles and sell them in order to get a little money to support themselves but these days people don’t buy many bottles, so they have nothing to even sell and get money to buy food. Their everyday lives are all about how to get food.

They mainly look for possible ways of getting food since one cant do without it. But most always at the end of the day come back empty handed coz at times when they work they are not always paid. The person that hired them they keep on postponing. Since they don’t have anyone to stand up for their rights, there is nothing they can do but just leave hungry.

Many kids spend the whole 11 hours in a day looking for scraps to sell in order to get money to sustain themselves in times when they are sick, or they can use it for food which always tend to be limited or scarce thus at the end of the day the money they get will be between 500 and 800 Ugandan shillings which is not even enough to buy a day’s meal for them.