An additional 20 million people face food crises, with acute hunger rates at their highest in 5 years – global issues


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A new report classified people in Burkina Faso, South Sudan and Yemen as being in a state of “disaster”, which means they need immediate action to prevent the spread of death and the collapse of livelihoods. This year’s Report on Food Crises provides the most vicious snapshot yet of global food insecurity. Thousands of displaced people camp under trees in Minkaman, northeastern South Sudan (File Photo). Credit: Andrew Green / IBS
  • By Alison Kentish (United nations)
  • Inter Press service

This is according to the Global Network Against Food Crises, a coalition of humanitarian partners working to prevent hunger and respond to food crises. The network, founded by the European Union, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Food Program, released the results of its 2021 Global Report on Food Crises on Wednesday, May 6.

Partners have released an annual report on food crises since 2017, but this year’s publication provides the darkest glimpse into global food insecurity yet. It stated that 20 million people suffered from acute hunger in 2020 compared to the previous year.

Noting that by the end of 2020, the goal of ending hunger by 2030 seemed “increasingly out of reach”, the report classified 133,000 people in Burkina Faso, South Sudan and Yemen as being in a state of “disaster,” which means they need immediate action to prevent Widespread death and the collapse of livelihoods.

Additionally, she mentioned that children living in countries experiencing food crises are particularly vulnerable to malnutrition. In the 55 countries with a food crisis under review, nearly 16 million children under the age of five were suffering from acute malnutrition, while 75.2 million children under the age of five suffered from stunted growth.

Network partners say it is possible to reverse the rising trend of food insecurity, but that this requires commitment, funding and urgent action.

“Humankind can now pilot a helicopter and even split molecules to generate oxygen on distant Mars, but here on Earth, 155 million members of our human family suffer from acute hunger and their lives and livelihoods are at risk because they lack the simplest foods.” Said Xu Dongyu, Director General FAO, “The paradox is shocking and unacceptable.”

The head of the Food and Agriculture Organization says that as the international and humanitarian community prepares for the United Nations Food Systems Summit in September, the information in such reports should serve as a guide for finding solutions to the hunger crises in the world.

“This requires a bold transformation of agri-foodTo be more efficient, inclusive, resilient and sustainable. This includes developing early warning systems associated with proactive measures to protect livelihoods and food security before a shock or threat arises.

The Executive Director of the United Nations Children’s Fund, Henrietta Fore, said at the launch event that the situation was worrying. She said that COVID-19, with lockdowns and economic and social shocks, has exacerbated the fragile nutrition situation.

“In each of the crises described in this year’s report, young and marginalized children who are difficult to reach are the most vulnerable,” she said. These children and their communities should be our priority. We need to invest in data and information systems that help us identify vulnerabilities and risks hotspots at sub-national levels in key countries. This information is essential in efficient targeting of resources to reach children, their families and their communities most in need. ”

While partners lament the astonishingly acute food insecurity statistics, the outlook is equally dire. They say the threat of famine persists in some of the world’s worst food crises.

“Unfortunately, this report is just the tip of the iceberg we are facing around the world,” said World Food Program Executive Director David Beasley.

“The global picture is even bleaker when we look at all the countries that are most affected by hunger. For example, chronic hunger, which was 690 million, has now risen to an additional 130 million people.”

According to the report’s projections, while conflict will remain the main driver of food crises in 2021, the economic fallout of COVID-19 will exacerbate severe food insecurity in fragile economies. In 40 forecast regions, 142 million people are expected to be in a food crisis, emergency or famine.

“High levels of acute food insecurity will continue in countries suffering from protracted conflict through restricted access to livelihoods and agricultural fields, uprooting people from their homes, and increasing the reliance of the displaced population on humanitarian aid to meet their basic needs,” the report stated.

The Global Network Against Food Crises says that while humanitarian aid is urgently needed, on its own, it is insufficient to deal with the scale of the current crises. The network says the answer also lies in peace and changing global food systems.

“The system in which the most vulnerable continue to bear the brunt of global crises is collapsing. We must seize this opportunity to transform food systems, reduce the number of people in need of humanitarian food assistance and contribute meaningfully to sustainable development and peaceful and prosperous societies.”

© Inter Press Service (2021) – All rights reservedOriginal source: Inter Press Service

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