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World Food Day amid a Global Food Crisis
by WFP, Concern, Action Against Hunger, agencies
12:28pm 21st Oct, 2022
Oct. 2022
WFP calls for action on World Food Day to avoid another year of record hunger. (WFP)
The world is at risk of yet another year of record hunger as the global food crisis continues to drive yet more people into worsening levels of acute food insecurity, warns the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) in a call for urgent action to address the root causes of today’s crisis ahead of World Food Day, on 16 October.
The global food crisis is a confluence of competing crises – caused by climate shocks, conflict, and economic pressures – that has pushed the number of hungry people around the world from 282 million to 345 million in just the first months of 2022. WFP scaled up food assistance targets to reach a record 153 million people in 2022, and by mid-year we had delivered assistance to 111.2 million people.
“We are facing an unprecedented global food crisis and all signs suggest we have not yet seen the worst. For the last three years hunger numbers have repeatedly hit new peaks. Let me be clear: things can and will get worse unless there is a large scale and coordinated effort to address the root causes of this crisis. We cannot have another year of record hunger,” said WFP Executive Director David Beasley.
WFP and humanitarian partners are struggling to hold back famine in five countries – Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen. Too often it is conflict that drives the most vulnerable into catastrophic hunger, with communications disrupted, humanitarian access restricted, and communities displaced. The conflict in Ukraine has also disrupted global trade pushing up transport costs and lead times while leaving farmers lacking access to the agricultural inputs they need. The knock-on effect on upcoming harvests will reverberate around the world.
Climate shocks are increasing in frequency and intensity, leaving those affected no time to recover between disasters. An unprecedented drought in the Horn of Africa is pushing more people into alarming levels of food insecurity, with famine now projected in Somalia. Floods have devastated homes and farmland in several countries, most strikingly in Pakistan. Anticipatory action must be at the core of the humanitarian response to protect the most vulnerable from these shocks.
Meanwhile, governments’ ability to respond is constrained by their own economic challenges – currency depreciation, inflation, debt distress – as the threat of global recession also mounts. This will see an increasing number of people unable to afford food and needing humanitarian support to meet their basic needs.
The number of acutely hungry people continues to increase requiring a concerted global action for peace, economic stability and continued humanitarian support to ensure food security around the world.
WFP requires US$24 billion to support 153 million people in 2022. The gap between needs and funding is bigger than ever before. The agency warned that unless the necessary resources are made available, the price will be measured in lost lives and the reversal of many hard-earned development gains.
Oct. 2022
2022 Global Hunger Index: report from Concern Worldwide and Welthungerhilfe.
The 2022 Global Hunger Index (GHI) brings us face to face with a grim reality. The toxic cocktail of conflict, climate change, and the COVID-19 pandemic had already left millions exposed to food price shocks and vulnerable to further crises. Now the conflict in Ukraine—with its knock-on effects on global supplies of and prices for food, fertilizer, and fuel—is turning a crisis into a catastrophe.
But the speed and severity of the global food crisis reflects the fact that millions of people were already living on the precarious edge of hunger—a legacy of past failures to build more just, sustainable, and resilient food systems. This year’s report focuses on food systems transformation and local governance.
World hunger levels are reaching catastrophic proportions with 44 countries suffering with serious or alarming levels of hunger, according to the new 2022 Global Hunger Index (GHI).
The shocking new study, which uses data from 136 countries, cites the Ukraine war as one of the reasons why nine nations, including Somalia where famine is imminent and Yemen, have alarming levels of hunger.
An additional 35 countries, including Pakistan, India and Afghanistan, were found to have serious levels of hunger in the report, which is jointly published by Irish humanitarian organisation Concern Worldwide and German charity Welthungerhilfe.
The GHI found that South Asia has the world’s highest levels of child stunting (low body weight to height) and child wasting (malnourished or emaciated) while areas of Africa south of the Sahara have the highest levels of undernourishment and child mortality rates.
“Progress made to tackle world hunger has largely halted,” said Concern Worldwide Chief Executive, Dominic MacSorley, who has witnessed first-hand many hunger crises over the last few decades.
“It’s sobering that 828 million people are undernourished today and many of them are children who should not be suffering in a world with so much food and wealth.
“The toxic cocktail of conflict, climate change, and the COVID-19 pandemic had already left millions exposed to food price shocks and vulnerable to further crises.
“Now the war in Ukraine—with its knock-on effects on global supplies of and prices for food, fertilizer, and fuel—is turning a crisis into a catastrophe.
“It is critical to act now to rebuild food security on a new and lasting basis. Failure to do so means sleepwalking into the catastrophic and systematic food crises of the future.”
The GHI recommendations include a call for governments to enshrine in law “the right to food” for all people.
The report also forecasts that by 2030 (the year that the United Nations has set as the target to end world hunger) there will still be hundreds of millions of people experiencing hunger.
“While we may not be able to end hunger by then, we can stop it heading in the wrong direction,” said Concern’s head of advocacy, Reiseal Ni Cheilleachair.
“The number of shocks people are experiencing means more effort is needed to increase global food, nutrition and livelihood security.
“The interdependency of the food system is evident in how shocks in one country can have a direct impact on the purchasing power and food consumption of families in another.”
Oct. 2022
Price Shocks: Rising food prices threaten milions. (World Vision)
Conflict, climate change, the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, and fallout from the Ukraine crisis are interacting to create new and worsen existing hunger hotspots around the world. These overlapping crises are reversing the gains many families have made to escape poverty. While global food prices have somewhat stabilised after reaching record highs, in many countries around the world, they continue to climb. High food prices are exacerbating existing humanitarian crises and putting the lives of millions of the world’s most vulnerable children at risk as policymakers are slow to take necessary large-scale action.
Ongoing economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, the war in Ukraine and supply chain shocks have driven up the prices of food, fuel, and key agricultural inputs, keeping food prices elevated while access to employment and income have not bounced back to pre-pandemic conditions.
Conflict remains a dominant driver of the most severe incidences of acute hunger crises around the world. Children living in conflict zones are over two times more likely to suffer from malnutrition than children living in peaceful settings.
The war in Ukraine continues to affect global supply chains of food, fertiliser, and other key agricultural inputs such as seed, disrupting flows to import-dependent countries at a time of heightened need.
Fifty million people are on the brink of starvation, with populations in Ethiopia, Somalia, Yemen, South Sudan, and Afghanistan experiencing catastrophic (IPC 5) levels of hunger.
An additional 1 in 5 people – 39 million more people – are in need of humanitarian assistance and protection in 2022 than in 2021 (a 21% increase).
The gap between humanitarian needs and the resources required to address them continues to grow. We are now seeing the largest-ever gap between resources required to meet the needs of the 41 humanitarian responses and the funding secured, with a current shortfall of US$32.9 billion.
Oct. 2022
Child Food Poverty: A Nutrition Crisis in Early Childhood. (UNICEF)
What and how children are fed in early childhood determines their survival and shapes their growth, development and learning for the rest of their lives. But millions of children – especially the youngest, the poorest and the most marginalized – do not have access to the minimum nutritious foods they need during the time in their lives when good nutrition matters most.
This brief sounds the alarm on the crisis of child food poverty – a state where young children are not fed the bare minimum number of food groups they need in early childhood. It presents data to illustrate how many children are experiencing food poverty, how many children are living in severe food poverty, what their diets look like, where they live – including in which households, communities and countries – and how these metrics have changed over time.
Across the globe, millions of families are struggling to provide their children with the nutritious food they need to grow, develop, and learn. Today in low- and middle-income countries, 2 in 3 children under five – or 478 million – experience food poverty. These children are not fed the minimum diverse diet they need to grow and develop to their full potential.
Even more worrisome, 1 in 3 children under five – or 202 million – live in severe food poverty, meaning they are fed extremely poor diets that include at most two food groups, often a cereal and perhaps some milk. Globally, nearly 90 per cent of children living in severe food poverty are fed breastmilk/ dairy with starchy staples – diets that are severely lacking in nutrient-rich foods such as eggs, fish, poultry, meat, pulses, nuts, fruits and vegetables.
The situation stands to worsen as the world grapples with a crushing global food and nutrition crisis that is taking the greatest toll on the most vulnerable children and families.
Oct. 2022
The Hunger Funding Gap: Greater hunger levels don’t lead to greater levels of funding or media attention. (Action Against Hunger)
Only 7% of appeals for urgent hunger-related funding through the UN humanitarian system are filled, leaving a hunger funding gap of 93%, according to “The Hunger Funding Gap: How The World Is Failing to Stop the Crisis,” an analysis by Action Against Hunger.
The analysis examined 13 countries that experienced “crisis” levels of hunger or worse in 2020, and how the global community responded with funding in 2021. Only 7.6% of Food Security appeals were fully funded and no appeals for support of water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) programs were fully funded. The majority (61%) of hunger-related appeals were not even funded to the halfway point.
“It’s alarming that people in desperate need saw only 7% of urgent hunger-related funding requests being met in 2021,” said Michelle Brown, Advocacy Director, Action Against Hunger USA.
The analysis found that greater hunger levels don’t necessarily lead to greater levels of funding or media attention. In fact, countries where the hunger crisis was greatest actually received less hunger funding (by percentage of appeals filled) than countries experiencing half the rate of hunger. The report also overlays an analysis of global English-language media and found that coverage correlates to funding levels rather than levels of hunger or unmet need.
The Hunger Funding Gap comes as approximately 828 million people — one in ten worldwide — are undernourished and as many as 50 million people in 45 countries are on the verge of famine. The climate crisis, war, and soaring inflation are impacting farmers’ ability to grow food and families’ ability to afford what little is available. These factors also are driving up the costs for humanitarian organizations to secure and transport supplies, contributing to a growing hunger crisis in many parts of the world.

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