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Rome Reports

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Pope visits FAO: Stop treating hunger like an incurable disease

The pope visited the FAO headquarters in Rome to celebrate World Food Day. This year its motto is "Change the future of migration. Invest in food security and rural development."

Pope Francis has addressed the situation at hand both with gestures and words.

One action was this sculpture demonstrating the devastation of migration. It is the corpse of little Aylan Kurdi, the refugee child who drowned while crossing the Mediterranean Sea from Turkey to Europe.

The Director-General of FAO greeted the pope on behalf of everyone and recalled the drama of emigration has chilling statistics, almost 300 million people. Most come from areas affected by wars, climate change and lack of job opportunities. For them, the only hope for a better life is to emigrate.

In his speech, the pope recalled the main cause of emigration is hunger which is caused by wars and climate change. He therefore asked that these two issues be addressed.

"It is clear that wars and climate changes lead to hunger, so we must stop treating it as an incurable disease."

Pope Francis criticized those who believe reducing the population size would help the fight against hunger, and called for a change of mentality.

"For some it would be enough to reduce the number of mouths to feed and in this way solve the problem. Reducing is easy; sharing instead, demands conversion, and this is imperative."

The pope's formula for ending hunger is by calling each person to be responsible. He said there should be efforts to avoid wasting, and he proposed including 'love of neighbor' or the 'principle of humanity' as a new category in international relations.

"To love means to contribute so that every country increases its production and reaches food self-sufficiency. To love translates into thinking of new models of development and consumption, and adopting policies that do not aggravate the situation of the less advanced populations, or their external dependency. To love means not continuing to divide the human family into those who more than they need, and those who lack the essential."

The pope praised diplomatic efforts and activity. He said just as stopping the use of weapons of mass destruction, one should also think about the harmful effects of poverty and exclusion and work to end those. He recalled that hunger cannot end by "physical, economic, legislative or ideological barriers," but by the 'principle of humanity.'

Pope Francis asks that during tragedies, not only statistics are considered, but also names and faces of those suffering. In 2016, world hunger once again increased. Now are a total of 815 million men, women and children are hungry, 11 out of every 100 people on the planet.