Nearly half of our children who pass away before 5 years of age lose their lives due to HUNGER


Child and Hunger should never be words that go together. Child and Play, Child and Candy, Child and Happiness look so beautiful side by side. But hunger doesn’t fit, when you place Child next to it, it pierces through our hearts.

Could you look at the facts revealed by the conducted researches?

World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, in his speech at the opening program of the Global Food Security Summit in November 2023, stated that globally, 45 million children under the age of 5 are “dangerously” undernourished based on their height. He reported that out of these children, 14 million are facing the most severe “child wasting” issue, which involves a high risk of death. Ghebreyesus mentioned that an estimated 1 million children die each year due to inadequate nutrition.

The situation is not any better in our country; it is heartbreaking. Even the pro-government Statistical Institute of Turkey (TÜİK) is compelled to reveal that 7.6 million of our children are not receiving balanced nutrition.

According to the Child Research Report published by TÜİK in 2022, 7.6 million of our children are not receiving balanced nutrition. The total number of children in our country is 22,738,300. In this situation, 33.7% of our children, or 1 in every 3, are experiencing unhealthy nutrition and facing financial hardship.

The results of the mentioned report breaks our hearts.

Only 50% of children are reported to consume fruits daily. We know that some mothers divide an apple into four parts to share among their children. The percentage of children who consume vegetables daily is 33%. For those who consume meat, chicken, or fish every day, the rate is only 12.7%. The province with the highest rate of malnutrition is Şırnak, where the rate of malnutrition in children is 20.6%. Essential food items for a healthy diet, such as meat, milk, cheese, eggs, and fruits, have become a luxury for many families.

We are not talking about luxury foods like caviar or dragon fruit; we are referring to the vegetables, fruits, meat, chicken, and fish that a child needs to grow and develop healthily.

B12 vitamin deficiency manifests itself with fatigue, lack of concentration, difficulty in perception, and inadequate memory. Meat and meat products, eggs, milk, and dairy products are sources of B12. To prevent our children from experiencing B12 vitamin deficiency, they need to consume red meat 2-3 times a week, eggs at least 5 times a week, and 3 servings of milk and dairy products daily. However, as mentioned earlier, in our country, 7.6 million of our children cannot access these foods.

Inadequate nutrition not only affects the mental health of our children but also hinders their physical development. In Turkey, the stunting rate among children under 5 is 10%. This means that 2.2 million out of our 22,738,000 children cannot complete their physical development due to insufficient nutrition. They end up shorter and stunted compared to what is expected for their age.

According to the report conducted by Derin Yoksulluk Ağı in December 2023, almost half of the deaths of children under the age of five are attributed to inadequate nutrition. Insufficient nutrition weakens the immune system of children, leading to loss of life due to natural infections.

The AKP government has transformed our country into a paradise for the moneybags at the expense of plunder, turning it into a hell of unemployment and high cost of living for our working people. Annual inflation rates remain consistently above 120%. Food inflation is increasing at unprecedentedly exorbitant rates in the history of the Republic of Turkey. Children are the ones affected the most by this situation.

According to the report of the Derin Yoksulluk Ağı, in the last year, the percentage of individuals concerned about not being able to find enough food due to the inadequacy of money and other resources is 23.4%, and the percentage of those who cannot eat despite being hungry is recorded as 8.4%. This means that almost 10% of our population goes to bed hungry.

We hear every day about children fainting from hunger at schools, kids asking their teachers for pocket money because they’re hungry, and children wanting to take a bite from a sandwich their friend brought. Families are unable to prepare meals for their children or even provide pocket money. A mother with two children says she gives them a daily allowance of 10 TL each, but it’s not enough. How could it be? With 10 TL, you can barely afford a bottle of water from the school cafeteria nowadays. Since this is not the Parliament cafeteria filled with luxurious deer skin chairs and well-fed bureaucrats; this is the public school cafeteria where the children of the people receive their education.

Moreover, children, due to their limited allowances, not only struggle to buy a simple simit but also find themselves forced to drink water from unsanitary conditions, even from the toilet, because they cannot afford clean water.

The AKP government, whose monthly salaries for those serving both as retirees and MPs reach 233,000 TL, rejected the proposal for “Okullarda Bir Öğün Ücretsiz Yemek” (Free One School Meal), last year, with the support of the MHP. It seems that they are indeed enemies of our working people and the children of the people.

According to the data from December 2023, the Hunger Threshold, which is the monthly food expenditure for a four-person family, reached 14,431 TL. The Poverty Threshold, which includes transportation, rent, utility bills (electricity, water, etc.), education expenses, and all other essential expenditures, is 47,009 TL. Continuing, Enflasyon Araştırma Grubu (Inflation Research Group) announced the inflation rate for December 2023 as 4.12% on a monthly basis and 127.21% on an annual basis (compared to the inflation increase rate in December of the previous year).

With the current situation, the Minimum Wage set by the AKP government, in collaboration with the moneybags and yellow union TÜRK-İŞ, is 17,002 TL. This is a wage that will barely keep people alive. It is below the Poverty Threshold and just slightly above the Hunger Threshold. However, it is certain that it will fall below the Hunger Threshold in just a few months.

Our people are condemned to hunger and poverty by the AKP government. As we highlighted above, children are the ones most affected by this situation.

Adequate, balanced, and healthy nutrition is a fundamental human right, a child’s right. This right is protected by international and national regulations. For example, Principle 4 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, of which our country is a signatory, states that ‘The child has the right to adequate nutrition, housing, recreation, and medical services.

Article 24, paragraph 1(c) of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, to which our country is also a party, states that states parties shall take appropriate measures to combat disease and malnutrition, including within the framework of primary health care, through the use of readily available techniques and through the provision of adequate nutritious foods and clean drinking water, taking into consideration the dangers and risks of environmental pollution. Thus, it imposes the responsibility on states to ensure access for children to nutritious food and clean drinking water, and any state party signing the convention agrees to take necessary measures for children who do not have access to these.

According to Article 27 of the convention, ‘States Parties recognize the right of every child to a standard of living adequate for the child’s physical, mental, spiritual, moral, and social development.’ States Parties, ‘in accordance with their national conditions and within their means, shall take appropriate measures to assist parents and others responsible for the child to implement this right and, in case of need, provide material assistance and support programs, particularly with regard to nutrition, clothing, and housing.

Evidently, international treaties have safeguarded the right to nutrition, which influences the physical, mental, and emotional development of children. Governments and families responsible for caring for children are entrusted with the duty and responsibility to assist in ensuring this right, taking necessary measures.

In the regime of high costs created by the AKP government, which surpasses all previous American-centric administrations nurtured and brought to power by U.S.-EU imperialists and has become loyal to them, providing one free meal at schools is certainly not enough!

Free breakfast and lunch should be provided to all our children in preschools, primary schools, middle schools, and high schools, in all public schools. These meals should be healthy and nutritious to meet the developmental needs of our children. Additionally, clean drinking water should be provided to our children in these schools free of charge. Otherwise, today’s children, who will be tomorrow’s adults, may not be able to complete their physical, mental, and emotional development, leading to potential health issues in future generations.

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