05/28/2015 03:19 EDT | Updated 05/27/2016 05:59 EDT

UN body says proportion of people suffering from hunger in Asia-Pacific has fallen

BANGKOK - The proportion of people suffering from hunger in the Asia-Pacific region has fallen by half in the last 25 years, the United Nation's food body said Thursday.

Using 1990 as a base year, when about 24 per cent of the population in the region was undernourished, the Food and Agriculture Organization said the percentage has been cut to 12 per cent, enabling the region to meet the U.N.'s ambitious Millennium Development Goals to halve undernourishment by 2015.

"This is an historic achievement, a great milestone of which the Asia-Pacific region should be proud," Hiroyuki Konuma, FAO assistant director-general and regional representative, said in a statement.

Some of biggest drops in the proportion of those hungry came in China, where it fell by 60.9 per cent; Thailand, where it dropped by 78.7 per cent; and Vietnam, where it was down by 75.8 per cent.

However, some parts of the region, such as South Asia, failed to reach the goal, and in total there are still 490 million people in Asia and the Pacific who suffer from chronic hunger.

The food body announced in Rome that worldwide the number of hungry people around the world had dropped to 795 million from over a billion a quarter-century ago despite natural disasters, ongoing conflicts and poverty.