10/29/2010 04:28 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

World's Starving Nations: 2010 Global Hunger Index (PHOTOS)

Though conditions have improved considerably in some, many nations in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa maintain alarming -- and, in some cases, extremely alarming -- rates of widespread hunger among their populations, a new report has shown.

Prepared by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), the 2010 Global Hunger Index serves as a multidimensional overview of global hunger. Organizers are proud to note that while the number of hungry people surpassed 1 billion in 2009, that number dipped to 925 million this year -- a small, but considerable, improvement.

The IFPRI notes that all four of the nations ranked as "extremely alarming" are based in sub-Saharan Africa. Though countries such as Ethiopia and Ghana have improved their ratings substantially, the Democratic Republic of Congo saw the poll's biggest drop due to internal conflict and political instability, organizers say.

View the report's full rankings here.

See photos of all four nations designated as "extremely alarming," and a selection of those considered "alarming," below: