World leaders need to prioritize humanitarian funding as acute hunger hits record levels
by Carl Skau
Deputy executive director of the World Food Programme
The United Nations World Food Program has been forced to cut food, cash payments and assistance to millions of people in many countries because of “a crippling funding crisis” that has seen its donations fall by about half as acute hunger is hitting record levels, a top official said Friday.
Carl Skau, deputy executive director of the World Food Program, told a news conference that at least 38 of the 86 countries where WFP operates have already seen cuts or plan to cut assistance soon — including Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen and West Africa.
He said WFP’s operating requirement is $20 billion to deliver food assistance to reach 171.5 million people in great need, but it was being forced to plan for between $10 billion and $14 billion this year.
“We’re still aiming at that, but we have only so far this year gotten to about half of that, around $5 billion,” Skau said.
He said humanitarian needs were “going through the roof” in 2021 and 2022 because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine and its global implications. “Those needs continue to grow, those drivers are still there,” he said, “but the funding is drying up. So we’re looking at 2024 being even more dire.”
“The largest food and nutrition crisis in history today persists,” Skau said. “This year, 345 million people continue to be acutely food insecure while hundreds of millions of people are at risk of worsening hunger.”
Carl Skau said conflict and insecurity remain the primary drivers of acute hunger around the world, along with climate change, unrelenting natural disasters, persistent food price inflation and mounting debt stress — all during a slowdown in the global economy.
He urged the agency’s traditional donors to “step up and support us through this very difficult time.”
Asked why funding was drying up, Skau said to ask the donors. “But it’s clear that aid budgets, humanitarian budgets, both in Europe and the United States, are not where they were in 2021-2022”.
Mr. Skau said that in March, WFP was forced to cut rations from 75% to 50% for communities in Afghanistan facing emergency levels of hunger, and in May it was forced to cut food for 8 million people — 66% of the people it was assisting. Now, it is helping just 5 million people, he said.
In Syria, 5.5 million people who relied on WFP for food were already on 50% rations, Skau said, and in July the agency cut all rations to 2.5 million of them. In the Palestinian territories, WFP cut its cash assistance by 20% in May and in June. It cut its caseload by 60%, or 200,000 people. And in Yemen, he said, a huge funding gap will force WFP to cut aid to 7 million people as early as August.
In West Africa, where acute hunger is on the rise, Skau said, most countries are facing extensive ration cuts, particularly WFP’s seven largest crisis operations: Burkina Faso, Mali, Chad, Central African Republic, Nigeria, Niger and Cameroon.
He said cutting aid to people who are only at the hunger level of crisis to help save those literally starving or in the category of catastrophic hunger means that those dropped will rapidly fall into the emergency and catastrophe categories, “and so we will have an additional humanitarian emergency on our hands down the road.”
“Ration cuts are clearly not the way to go forward,” Skau said.
He urged world leaders to prioritize humanitarian funding and invest in long-tern solutions to conflicts, poverty, development and other root causes of the current crisis.
Hunger Hotspots: FAO-WFP early warnings on acute food insecurity, November 2023 to April 2024 outlook
The World Food Programme (WFP) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) warn that acute food insecurity is likely to deteriorate further in 18 hunger hotspots – comprising a total of 22 countries during the outlook period from November 2023 to April 2024.
Burkina Faso, Mali, South Sudan and the Sudan remain at highest concern levels. Palestine was added to the list of countries/territories of highest concern due to the severe escalation of conflict in October 2023. These hotspots have populations that are facing or projected to face starvation (Catastrophe, Integrated Food Security Phase Classification [IPC]/Cadre Harmonisé [CH] Phase 5) or are at risk of deterioration towards catastrophic conditions during the outlook period, given they have populations already facing critical food insecurity (Emergency, IPC/CH Phase 4) and are facing severe aggravating factors. These countries require urgent attention.
Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Haiti, Pakistan, Somalia, the Syrian Arab Republic and Yemen are hotspots of very high concern. All these hotspots have a high number of people facing or projected to face critical levels of acute food insecurity, coupled with worsening drivers that are expected to further intensify life‐threatening conditions in the coming months.
Since the May 2023 edition, Chad, Djibouti, the Niger, Palestine and Zimbabwe have been added to the list of hunger hotspot countries/ territories, while the countries in the Dry Corridor of Central America (El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua) and Malawi remain hunger hotspot countries. The countries/territories and situations covered in this report highlight the most significant deteriorations of hunger expected in the outlook period, but do not represent all countries or territories with high levels of acute food insecurity.
Armed violence, in particular the trend of increased civilian targeting, will likely continue to underpin the ongoing upward trajectory in global displacement. The ongoing hostilities in the Gaza Strip are expected to further intensify and exacerbate the already dramatic humanitarian implications for the population in the outlook period, with the risk of potentially wider regional implications.
Instability and violence continue to surge in the Sahel region, from the recent coups in Burkina Faso, Mali and the Niger to the unabating conflict in the Sudan affecting neighbouring countries like Chad.
Between July and September 2023, the region accounted for 22 percent of all global fatalities generated by conflict. The requested withdrawal and ongoing drawdown of peacekeeping missions from Mali, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Somalia could amplify security voids, permitting increased non‐state armed group (NSAG) activities and attacks against civilians, and could cause constraints to humanitarian operations.
Insecurity and conflicts are poised to exacerbate already restricted access to, and availability of, food – through displacement, the disruption of markets and livelihoods, and especially the reduction or abandonment of cultivated areas, contributing to deepening protracted food crises.
International food prices remain high by historic standards, and are expected to come under increased upward pressure in the coming months due to oil price dynamics and the impact of El Nino conditions on agricultural production.
Ongoing or planned reductions and gaps in emergency food, agriculture and livelihood assistance affect several hunger hotspots of very high concern and highest concern, such as Afghanistan, Haiti, Palestine, Somalia, the Syrian Arabic Republic and Yemen, other hunger hotspots, such as Malawi, and countries or situations that require monitoring, such as Uganda and Cox’s Bazar (Bangladesh).
Weather extremes, such as heavy rains, tropical storms, cyclones, flooding, drought and increased climate variability, remain significant drivers of acute food insecurity in some countries and regions.
The El Nino climatic shift has already had a negative impact on various regions, notably Southeast Asia and Latin America, and is anticipated to persist in the upcoming six months, notably affecting regions in East Africa, Southern Africa and Latin America. Continuous monitoring of forecasts and their impacts on production remains critical.
Urgent and scaled-up assistance is required in all 18 hunger hotspots to increase access to food and protect livelihoods. This is essential to avert a further deterioration of acute food insecurity and malnutrition. In the hotspots of highest concern, humanitarian support and actions are critical in preventing further starvation and death.
http://www.fightfoodcrises.net/hunger-hotspots/en/ http://www.wfp.org/stories/hunger-report-sounds-alarm-emergencies-risk-going-forgotten-amid-crisis-palestine http://reliefweb.int/report/burkina-faso/hunger-hotspots-fao-wfp-early-warnings-acute-food-insecurity-november-2023-april-2024-outlook http://www.wfp.org/publications/wfp-global-operational-response-plan-update-9-november-2023
* 30 June 2023: WFP Global Operational Response Plan: Update #8 - June 2023
The largest food and nutrition crisis in history continues to deepen its impact, 345 million people will be acutely food insecure this year and millions of people at risk of worsening hunger.
Conflicts, climate change and disasters, economic instability and financial crises – all compounded by the current funding crisis – converge in an overwhelming polycrisis driving the global food crisis.
An estimated 40.4 million people across 51 countries are in Emergency or worse levels of acute food insecurity in 2023. Without urgent life-saving action, these populations will be at risk of falling into catastrophe or famine conditions.
As of 2 June, WFP plans to reach 171.5 million people with full rations for the remainder of this year. This is an increase of 21.9 million people as compared to the February edition of this report, including recent adjustments from Corporate Scale-ups in Sudan and DRC.
An expected funding shortfall of a staggering 60 percent is already hampering activities, resulting in ration and caseload cuts in all regions. 2023 will be marked by very hard prioritization calls, as needs by far outpace funding levels.
http://www.wfp.org/publications/wfp-global-operational-response-plan-update-8-june-2023 http://www.wfp.org/publications/hunger-hotspots-fao-wfp-early-warnings-acute-food-insecurity-june-november-2023 http://www.fao.org/newsroom/detail/increasing-risk-of-hunger-set-to-spread-in-hotspot-areas/en
Acute food insecurity is set to increase in magnitude and severity in 18 hunger "Hotspots" comprising a total of 22 countries, for the period June to November 2023 a new UN early warning report has found.
The report spotlights the risk of a spill-over of the Sudan crisis - raising the risk of negative impacts in neighbouring countries, shows that deepening economic shocks continue to drive low- and middle-income nations deeper into crisis, and warns that a likely El Nino climatic phenomenon is raising fears of climate extremes in vulnerable countries around the globe.
The report also found that many hotspots are facing growing hunger and highlights the worrying multiplier effect that simultaneous and overlapping shocks are having on acute food insecurity. Conflict, climate extremes, and economic shocks continue to drive more and more communities into crisis.
The report, 'Hunger Hotspots - FAO-WFP early warnings on acute food insecurity issued today by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) calls for urgent humanitarian action to save lives and livelihoods and prevent starvation and death in hotspots where acute hunger is at a high risk of worsening from June to November 2023.
"Not only are more people in more places around the world going hungry, but the severity of the hunger they face is worse than ever," said Carl Skau, deputy executive director of the World Food Program.
"This report makes it clear: we must act now to save lives, help people adapt to a changing climate, and ultimately prevent famine. If we don't, the results will be catastrophic," Mr Skau warned.
"Business-as-usual pathways are no longer an option, if we want ensure that no one is left behind." said QU Dongyu, FAO Director-General. "We need to provide immediate interventions to pull people from the brink of hunger, help them rebuild their lives, and provide long-term solutions to address the root causes of food insecurity," he added.
The report warns of a major risk of El Nino conditions, which meteorologists forecast to emerge by mid-2023 with an 82 percent probability. The expected shift in climate patterns will have significant implications for several hotspots, including below-average rains in the Dry Corridor of Central America, and raises the spectre of consecutive extreme climatic events hitting areas of the Sahel and the Horn of Africa.
The spill-over from the crisis in the Sudan is driving massive population displacement and hunger among people forced from their homes in search of refuge and those hosting them -- the report warns. More than one million people are expected to flee the country while an additional 2.5 million inside the Sudan set to face acute hunger in coming months.
Sudan was already hosting over one million refugees -- and if the conflict persists hundreds of thousands are likely to return to their counties of origin -- many of which are already in the grips of underfunded and protracted refugee crises, compounded by social, political and economic stressors.
Supply routes for commercial and relief goods in and out of Port Sudan are being disrupted by insecurity, putting in jeopardy humanitarian assistance flows and regional relief efforts, the report notes.
Disruptions to trade, cross-border commercial activities, and supply chains risk also driving up prices and inflation and depleting foreign exchange reserves in several countries -- particularly in South Sudan -- a country that relies on Port Sudan for both commercial and humanitarian imports, as well as vital oil exports.
The report warns that displacement into neighbouring countries and disruptions to trade risk also driving tensions among displaced people, those hosting them and new arrivals, as many hard-hit countries are already grappling with significant numbers of displaced people competing for limited livelihood and labour opportunities -- particularly Chad and South Sudan - where fragile sociopolitical environments are at risk of deteriorating.
Economic shocks and stressors continue to drive acute hunger in almost all hotspots, reflecting global trends that are carrying over from 2022 when economic risks were driving hunger in more countries and for more people than conflict was. These risks are largely linked to the socioeconomic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic and the ripple effect from the war in Ukraine.
2023 is expected to bring a global economic slowdown amid monetary tightening in high-income countries -- increasing the cost of credit, weakening local currencies, and further exacerbating the debt crisis in low- and middle-income economies.
The International Monetary Fund projects global GDP growth at 2.8 percent in 2023 -- the lowest level in ten years besides the COVID-19 induced plunge in 2020. Sub-Saharan Africa GDP will also grow 0.3 percent less than in 2022. Low- and middle- income countries are expected to be hit the hardest by the projected slow growth in their main export markets, alongside inflation rate hikes in high-income economies that will rely heavily on exports to advanced economies.
With global food prices likely to remain elevated compared with historical standards in coming months, macroeconomic pressures in low- and middle-income countries are unlikely to ease. This means that the subsequent drop in purchasing power will negatively affect families' access to food in coming months in many hotspots.
According to the report, Afghanistan, Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen remain at the highest alert level. Haiti, the Sahel (Burkina Faso and Mali) and Sudan have been elevated to the highest concern levels; this is due to severe movement restrictions to people and goods in Burkina Faso, Haiti and Mali, and the recent outbreak of conflict in the Sudan.
All hotspots at the highest level have communities facing or projected to face starvation, or are at risk of sliding towards catastrophic conditions, given they have already emergency levels of food insecurity and are facing severe aggravating factors. These hotspots require the most urgent attention, the report warns.
The Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo,Ethiopia, Kenya, Pakistan and Syria are hotspots with very high concern, and the alert is also extended to Myanmar in this edition. All these hotspots have a large number of people facing critical acute food insecurity, coupled with worsening drivers that are expected to further intensify life‑threatening conditions in the coming months. Lebanon has been added to the list of hotspots, joining Malawi and Central America (El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua) that remain hotspots.
Scaling up humanitarian action to prevent disasters
To avert a further deterioration of acute hunger and malnutrition, the report provides country-specific recommendations on priorities for immediate emergency response to save lives, prevent famine and protect livelihoods, as well as anticipatory action.
Humanitarian action will be critical in preventing starvation and death -- particularly in the highest alert hotspots, but the report notes how humanitarian access is constrained by insecurity, bureaucratic barriers, and movement restrictions - posing a major challenge to humanitarian responders around the globe.
The report also stresses the importance of strengthening anticipatory action in humanitarian and development assistance - ensuring predictable hazards do not become full-blown humanitarian disasters.
http://www.wfp.org/publications/hunger-hotspots-fao-wfp-early-warnings-acute-food-insecurity-june-november-2023 http://www.fao.org/newsroom/detail/increasing-risk-of-hunger-set-to-spread-in-hotspot-areas/en http://www.fightfoodcrises.net/hunger-hotspots/en/ http://www.ipcinfo.org/ipc-country-analysis/
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238 million people across 48 food crisis countries face high levels of acute food insecurity
by Global Network Against Food Crises (GRFC)
Global Food Crises – mid-year update 2023: hunger and malnutrition levels remain alarmingly high - 238 million people across 48 food crisis countries face high levels of acute food insecurity
The Global Report on Food Crises (GFRC) 2023, in its mid-year update confirms the disheartening reality of the world's food crisis. As conflicts, economic shocks, and extreme weather events continue to wreak havoc alongside persisting vulnerabilities, millions of people continue to suffer from hunger and malnutrition.
The updated report provides the latest data on acute food insecurity for 2023, building on the May 2023 edition, which laid down the data for 2022. The new report covers the period from January to August 2023 and provides new updates on the state of acute food insecurity.
The mid-year update of the GRFC presents some stark statistics:
Almost 238 million people across 48 food crisis countries faced high levels of acute food insecurity as of early August 2023, affecting nearly 1 in 5 individuals of the analysed population, a similar proportion as the one observed in 2022.
The 10 worst food crisis countries in this report are the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Nigeria, Sudan, Ethiopia, Afghanistan, Yemen, Bangladesh, Pakistan, South Sudan and Somalia. Myanmar, the Syrian Arab Republic, and Ukraine, which were among the 10 hardest hit countries in 2022, have not been included in the mid-year update due to insufficient data on acute food insecurity in 2023.
East Africa remains the worst-hit food crisis region, with nearly 65 million people facing high levels of acute food insecurity (an increase of 8 million people since 2022), primarily due to the ongoing conflict in Sudan, which has displaced 3.5 million people since April.
Some countries have shown improvements in acute food insecurity conditions between 2022 and August 2023. Sri Lanka and Niger recorded the most substantial reductions, with 2.4 and 1.1 million people respectively experiencing improved conditions.
In the 21 food crisis countries where data was available, approximately 27.2 million children under the age of five suffered from acute malnutrition by August 2023. Of these, 7.2 million were severely malnourished and in urgent need of treatment.
Drivers of acute food insecurity
The mid-year update report identifies three main types of shock that, when combined with a high proportion of vulnerable populations in food crisis countries, serve as the main drivers of acute food insecurity. These shocks are conflict / insecurity, economic related shocks and weather extremes.
Conflict and insecurity: remains the leading driver of food insecurity, impacting eight out of the 10 worst-hit food crisis countries. Additionally, Russia’s decision to terminate the Black Sea Grain Initiative has raised uncertainty on global food market prices in the coming months. The recent coup d'etat in the Niger is expected to reverse the recent food security improvements at country level and further exacerbate acute food insecurity in the wider region.
Economic shocks: Despite slightly lower global food prices in 2022, high food prices in domestic markets continue to affect populations. Particularly in low-income countries, high levels of public debt further limit governments’ ability to import food and mitigate the impact of high food prices on vulnerable populations. Economic shocks are now driving acute food insecurity across all regions.
Weather extremes: These have been a key driver of acute food insecurity in all regions except West Africa, the Middle East, and North Africa. The impending El Niño event sets the stage for increased global temperatures and more intense weather extremes over the next nine to 12 months.
This mid-year update of the Global Report on Food Crises 2023 underscores the urgent need for international cooperation and concerted efforts to address the root causes of hunger and malnutrition. Collaboration amongst agencies is imperative to provide immediate relief to those in need while striving for long-term solutions to mitigate the impact of these crises.
At least 258 million people in 58 countries were in Crisis or worse acute food insecurity (IPC Phase 3 or above) in 2022. This is the highest on record since the Global Network Against Food Crises (GRFC) started reporting these data in 2017.
It marks the fourth consecutive year of rising numbers of people in IPC/CH Phase 3 or above due to persistently high numbers in some countries, worsening situations in others, as well as increased analysis.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres writes in the report’s foreword:
"More than a quarter of a billion people are now facing acute levels of hunger, and some are on the brink of starvation. That’s unconscionable.
This seventh edition of the Global Report on Food Crises is a stinging indictment of humanity’s failure to make progress towards Sustainable Development Goal 2 to end hunger, and achieve food security and improved nutrition for all.
In fact, we are moving in the wrong direction. Conflicts and mass displacement continue to drive global hunger. Rising poverty, deepening inequalities, rampant underdevelopment, the climate crisis and natural disasters also contribute to food insecurity.
As always, it is the most vulnerable who bear the brunt of this failure, facing soaring food prices that were aggravated by the COVID-19 pandemic and, despite some declines, are still above 2019 levels due to the war in Ukraine. All this, while humanitarian funding to fight hunger and malnutrition pales in comparison to what is needed.
This crisis demands fundamental, systemic change. This report makes clear that progress is possible. We have the data and know-how to build a more resilient, inclusive, sustainable world where hunger has no home — including through stronger food systems, and massive investments in food security and improved nutrition for all people, no matter where they live.
With collective action and a commitment to change, we can ensure that every person, everywhere, has access to the most basic of human needs: food and nutrition".
Acute food insecurity is defined as when a person's inability to consume adequate food puts their lives or livelihoods in immediate danger. It draws on internationally accepted measures of acute hunger, such as the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) and the Cadre Harmonise (CH).
People in seven countries faced starvation conditions in 2022 - in Somalia, South Sudan, Yemen, Afghanistan, Haiti, Nigeria and Burkina Faso.
At least 35 million people were in Emergency (IPC/CH Phase 4) in 39 countries/territories. Households in this extremely severe situation face large food gaps, which are either reflected in high acute malnutrition rates and excess mortality.
Around half of the total population identified in IPC/CH Phase 4 was found in four countries – Afghanistan, Yemen, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Sudan. More than 40 percent of the population in IPC/CH Phase 3 or above resided in five countries/territories – the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Afghanistan, Nigeria and Yemen.
Recurrent shocks are driving up acute food insecurity
The food crises outlined in the GRFC are the result of interconnected, mutually reinforcing drivers – conflict and insecurity, economic shocks and weather extremes.
In 2022, these key drivers were associated with lingering socioeconomic impacts of COVID-19, the knock-on effects of the war in Ukraine and repeated droughts and other weather extremes.
Conflict/insecurity was the most significant driver in 19 countries/territories where 117.1 million people were in IPC/CH Phase 3 or above or equivalent.
Six of the seven countries/territories with populations facing Catastrophe (IPC Phase 5) – Afghanistan, Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen – have protracted conflicts, while the very severe levels of acute food insecurity in Haiti are attributable to escalating gang violence in the capital.
Economic shocks (including the socioeconomic impacts of COVID-19 and the repercussions of the war in Ukraine) became the main driver in 27 countries with 83.9 million people in IPC/CH Phase 3 or above or equivalent – up from 30.2 million people in 21 countries in 2021.
The economic resilience of poor countries has decreased, and they now face extended recovery periods and less ability to cope with future shocks.
Weather extremes were the primary driver of acute food insecurity in 12 countries where 56.8 million people were in IPC/CH Phase 3 or above or equivalent, more than double the number of people (23.5 million) in eight countries in 2021. These extremes included sustained drought in the Horn of Africa, devastating flooding in Pakistan, and tropical storms, cyclones and drought in Southern Africa.
High levels of child wasting in food-crisis countries/ territories curbs development and wellbeing
Malnutrition is multidimensional, and child nutritional status is determined by multiple factors. The GRFC demonstrates that areas with high levels of acute food insecurity tend to have high levels of child wasting, which, when combined, stymie the development and wellbeing of populations in the short, medium and long term.
In 30 of the 42 major food crises analysed in the GRFC 2023 where data on malnutrition were available, over 35 million children under 5 years of age suffered from wasting, with 9.2 million of them severely wasted (the most lethal form of undernutrition and a major contributor to child mortality).
Out of the total estimated children with wasting in those countries, about 65 percent lived in nine out of the ten countries with the highest number of people in IPC/CH Phase 3.
The global food crisis worsened the undernutrition situation of adolescent girls and women whose livelihoods, income and access to nutritious food have been disproportionately affected by conflict, climate change, poverty and other economic shocks, including that of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Number of forcibly displaced people in food crisis countries/territories is the highest in GRFC history
Displacement is both a driver and a consequence of food insecurity. People forced to flee their homes lose access to their livelihoods (including safe access to food, water and other necessities) while also facing major barriers to income, humanitarian aid, healthcare, and other essential services, exacerbating their vulnerability to food insecurity and undernutrition.
By mid-2022, the number of displaced people globally, including refugees, asylum seekers, Internally Displaced People (IDPs) and other people in need of international protection, had reached 103 million.
In 2022, displacement was caused by major conflicts, severe economic crises and climate change and weather extremes. By the end of 2022, nearly 53.2 million people were internally displaced in 25 countries/territories identified as food crises in the GRFC 2023.
The countries/territories with the highest numbers of IDPs in 2022 nearly mirrored the list of the 10 food crises with the largest numbers of people in IPC/CH Phase 3 or above or equivalent. In 2022, about 19.7 million refugees and asylum seekers were hosted in 55 out of the 58 food-crisis countries/territories identified in this GRFC edition.
The impact of the war in Ukraine on food crises around the world
The war in Ukraine has had an outsized impact on global food systems due to the major contributions Ukraine and the Russian Federation make to the production and trade of fuel, fertilizers and essential food commodities like wheat, maize and sunflower oil.
The timing of the war also contributed to this impact as higher international commodity prices in the first half of 2022 compounded the macroeconomic challenges that countries continued to face after the COVID-19 pandemic. This was particularly true for GRFC countries/territories as they were more likely to be exposed to commodity market volatility given many of their positions as low-income net food-importing countries.
Although global food prices had fallen somewhat by the end of 2022, they remained well above pre-pandemic levels. Domestic food prices, by contrast, experienced an increase but have yet to decline. In fact, food prices increased in all GRFC countries/ territories in 2022, with food inflation being over 10 percent in 38 out of the 58 countries/territories with food crises by the end of the year.
Their governments’ abilities to mitigate risks and insulate citizens from food price inflation through policy measures, such as stimulus payments and subsidies, was limited given their over-extended public budgets after the COVID-19 pandemic. Nearly all of the countries whose currencies lost value at an abnormally fast rate in 2022 were GRFC countries/territories.
Economic shocks are projected to be the main driver of acute food insecurity in 22 of these countries/territories as national economic resilience has been severely undermined by a slow recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, exacerbated by the war in Ukraine. Persisting high food prices coupled with high debt levels in some countries amid high interest rates and currency depreciation are expected to further erode households’ food access and constrain the fiscal capacity of governments to deliver assistance.
As of March 2023, food prices were at exceptionally high levels in Ethiopia, Ghana, Malawi, Myanmar, Namibia, Pakistan, Somalia, South Sudan and Zimbabwe.
Forecast to return in June 2023, the El Nino phenomenon is likely to result in dry weather conditions in key cropping areas of Central America, Southern Africa and Far East Asia, while excessive rainfall and possible flooding is foreseen in Near East Asia and East Africa.
Conflicts, national and global economic shocks and weather extremes continue to be increasingly intertwined, feeding into one another and creating spiralling negative effects on acute food insecurity and nutrition. And there is no indication that these drivers will ease in 2023: climate change is expected to drive further weather extremes, the global and national economies face a grim outlook, while conflicts and insecurity are likely to persist.
The magnitude of people facing IPC/CH Phase 3 or above is daunting, but it is that very scale that drives urgency. Earlier intervention can reduce food gaps and protect assets and livelihoods at a lower cost than late humanitarian response.
Yet too often the international community waits for a Famine (IPC/CH Phase 5) classification before mobilizing additional funding. By this stage, lives and futures have already been lost, livelihoods have collapsed, and social networks disrupted with deleterious impacts on the lives of an unborn generation.
Populations in IPC/CH Phase 3 are already unable to meet their minimum food needs or are compelled to protect food consumption by engaging in coping strategies that will harm their future ability to access food and sustain their livelihoods. In IPC/CH Phase 4, households face large food gaps, which are either reflected in high acute malnutrition levels and excess mortality. Urgent action is needed for households in IPC/CH Phase 3 and 4 to ensure immediate wellbeing, to support their ability to sustain themselves.
* The Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) provides a common scale for classifying the severity and magnitude of food insecurity and acute malnutrition. The classification is based on a convergence of available data and evidence, including indicators related to food consumption, livelihoods, malnutrition, and mortality. It is the internationally recognised standard measurement.
http://www.fsinplatform.org/global-report-food-crises-2023 http://www.fsinplatform.org/report/global-report-food-crises-2023/ http://bit.ly/3Ny02P6 http://www.wfp.org/news/global-report-food-crises-number-people-facing-acute-food-insecurity-rose-258-million-58
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