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Pope: compassion will help banish world hunger

October 16, 1997

ROME (AP) _ A personal commitment to helping each other is needed to banish world hunger, Pope John Paul II said Thursday in a message marking World Food Day.

``United and determined action is the only effective response to the cry of those who live personally the tragedy of world hunger,″ the pope said.

World Food Day ceremonies were organized by the Rome-based U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization.

In a message read by Archbishop Alois Wagner, Permanent Observer of the Holy See to FAO, the pope said: ``The experience of international efforts and of FAO in particular demonstrates that the mere availability of food is not sufficient to banish hunger.

``Awareness that `giving’ is superior to `having’ provides a firm foundation both for relations among peoples and for international solidarity.

``To allow the life expectancy of millions of human beings and entire communities to be compromised or even denied due to a lack of daily sustenance is a glaring negation of humanity’s common conscience and constitutes a violation of fundamental rights,″ the pope said.

Last year, 150 nations attending a World Food Summit pledged to cut in half by 2015 the number of people who do not have enough to eat. That number now stands at 840 million.

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