An estimated billion people worldwide are facing malnutrition as the global good crisis worsens, with 45 million already on the brink of famine.

Of these billion people, 239 million are African. Countries such as Madagascar, Mozambique and Zimbabwe are among the worst affected.

Recent studies also show that, globally, 22% of children under the age of five are “stunted” due to lack of nourishment, and that many of these – an estimated 14 million babies and young children – are suffering acute and severe malnutrition.

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Nearly a third of the world’s population – more than two and a half billion people – lack an adequate supply of food. Millions of people are going to bed hungry, every single day.

In Madagascar famine has followed years of drought and other environmental disasters. Many people have been reduced to trying to eat bark from trees or cactus leaves, and many have already died.

While famine is an issue that affects all people, Christians who are already persecuted and impoverished are often among the worst affected.

Reports also indicate that famine and food insecurity increases the likelihood of violence and conflict, which would include the anti-Christian violence experienced by believers across Asia, Africa and the Middle East.

This article originally appeared on Barnabas Fund/News