People's Stories Poverty

124 million people face crisis food insecurity
by WFP, FAO, OCHA, Fews Net, agencies
22 Mar. 2018
Global Report on Food Crises 2018 (WFP)
124 million people in 51 countries experienced high levels of food insecurity, warns a new report.
A new report out today sounds the alarm regarding surging levels of acute hunger. Some 124 million people in 51 countries were affected by acute food insecurity during 2017 — 11 million more people than the year before — according to the latest edition of the Global Report on Food Crises.
The report defines acute food insecurity as hunger so severe that it poses an immediate threat to lives or livelihoods.
The increase is largely attributable to new or intensified conflict and insecurity in Myanmar, north-east Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan and Yemen. Prolonged drought conditions also resulted in consecutive poor harvests in countries already facing high levels of food insecurity and malnutrition in eastern and southern Africa.
Produced each year by a group of international humanitarian partners the report was presented by the European Union, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), and the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) at a briefing for UN member nations in Rome.
It finds that food crises are increasingly determined by complex causes such as conflict, extreme climatic shocks and high prices of staple food often acting at the same time.
The situation revealed by the Global Report highlights the urgent need for simultaneous action to save lives, livelihoods and to address the root causes of food crises, the partners said.
Conflict and climate change key culprits
Conflict continued to be the main driver of acute food insecurity in 18 countries — 15 of them in Africa or the Middle East. It is the primary reason for most of the world''s cases of acute food insecurity, accounting for 60 percent of the global total, or 74 million people.
Climate disasters — mainly drought — were also major triggers of food crises in 23 countries, two-thirds of them in Africa, and were responsible for pushing some 39 million people into acute food insecurity.
Conflict, climate disasters and other drivers often contribute to complex crises that have devastating and long lasting consequences on the livelihood of people.
Entire communities and more children and women are in need of nutritional support compared to last year, and long lasting solutions are needed if we want to revert this trend.
Conflict will likely remain a major driver of food crises in 2018, affecting Afghanistan, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, north-eastern Nigeria and the Lake Chad region, South Sudan, Syria and Yemen as well as Libya and the central Sahel (Mali and Niger), according to the report.
Yemen will mostly likely continue to be the largest food crisis by far. The situation there is expected to deteriorate, particularly because of restricted access, economic collapse and outbreaks of disease.
Meanwhile, the impact of severe dry weather on crop and livestock production is likely to heighten food insecurity in pastoral areas of Somalia, south-eastern Ethiopia and eastern Kenya, and in West African and Sahel countries including Senegal, Chad, Niger, Mali, Mauritania and Burkina Faso.
Key messages:
• Around 124 million people in 51 countries face Crisis food insecurity or worse (equivalent of IPC/CH Phase 3 or above). They require urgent humanitarian action to save lives, protect livelihoods, and reduce hunger and malnutrition.
• The worst food crises in 2017 were in north-eastern Nigeria, Somalia, Yemen and South Sudan, where nearly 32 million people were food-insecure and in need of urgent assistance. Famine (IPC/CH Phase 5) was declared in two counties of South Sudan in February 2017. Although humanitarian assistance has thus far contributed towards preventing large-scale famines, humanitarian needs remain exceptionally high across the four countries.
• Last year’s Global Report on Food Crises identified 108 million people in Crisis food security or worse across 48 countries.
• A comparison of the 45 countries included in both editions of the Global Report on Food Crises reveals an increase of 11 million people – an 11 percent rise – in the number of food-insecure people needing urgent humanitarian action across the world.
• This rise can largely be attributed to new or intensified and protracted conflict or insecurity in countries such as Yemen, northern Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan and Myanmar. Persistent drought has also played a major role, causing consecutive poor harvests in countries already facing high levels of food insecurity in eastern and southern Africa.
• Levels of acute malnutrition in crisis-affected areas remain of concern; there continues to be a double burden of high acute and chronic malnutrition in protracted crises.
• The number of children and women in need of nutritional support increased between 2016 and 2017, mainly in areas affected by conflict or insecurity such as Somalia, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Yemen and northern Nigeria. Some of these countries have also experienced severe outbreaks of cholera, exacerbating levels of acute malnutrition.
Food insecurity and malnutrition: primary drivers in 2017
• Conflict and insecurity continued to be the primary drivers of food insecurity in 18 countries, where almost 74 million food-insecure people remain in need of urgent assistance. Half of these people were in countries affected by conflict or insecurity in Africa, and more than a third were in the Middle East.
• Food-insecure people in need of urgent action in countries affected by conflict or insecurity accounted for 60 percent of the total population facing Crisis food insecurity or worse across the world.
• Climate disasters – mainly drought – were also major triggers of food crises in 23 countries, with over 39 million food-insecure people in need of urgent assistance. Two thirds of these countries were in Africa, where almost 32 million people faced acute food insecurity.
* FEWS Net: Food Assistance Outlook June 2018:
* FEWS Net: Food Assistance Outlook May 2018:
Feb. 2018
Report from the World Food Programme, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations to the UN Security Council on food insecurity hot spots, need for continued humanitarian support.
Food insecurity in conflict-stricken countries continues to deteriorate, meaning humanitarian efforts to provide affected communities with food relief and livelihood support remain extremely critical, FAO and WFP have told the UN Security Council.
Their latest report to the Council on food insecurity covers 16 countries: Afghanistan, Burundi, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, Iraq, Lebanon regarding the Syrian refugees, Liberia, Mali, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Ukraine and Yemen, plus the transboundary Lake Chad Basin area.
In half of these places, the FAO-WFP assessment notes, a quarter or more of the population is facing crisis or emergency levels of hunger as measured on the international IPC food insecurity scale. These include:
But these are far from being the only countries flagged as cause for concern.
For example, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo -- where serious food security concerns have been overshadowed by crises in other parts of Africa -- the situation is rapidly deteriorating, the report warns. There, 11 percent of the population is now in IPC Crisis phase or above, adding up to 7.7 million people who are coping with acute hunger.
In Sudan, 3.8 million people are in IPC Crisis phase or above. In Iraq, that figure is 3.2 million while in the Lake Chad basin, the number is 2.9 million people. In Burundi and Haiti, it is 1.8 and 1.3 million, respectively.
Conflict drives hunger
A common factor undermining food security in all 16 countries included in the report: conflict. Indeed, the intensification of conflicts is a key reason behind the recent resurgence of world hunger levels following decades of steady declines, according to the UN’s most recent assessment of global food security.
The number of hungry people on the planet rose to 815 million people in 2016, the assessment, released last October, found. The majority of the hungry live in countries wracked by conflict – 489 million people.
Food security essential to peace
The new FAO/WFP update is the latest in a series of briefings to the Security Council on food security in countries it is formally monitoring. It reflects the new consensus that to achieve sustainable development and food security and nutrition goals, activities to support resilient livelihoods must be combined with peacebuilding and conflict resolution efforts. Investing in food security can strengthen efforts to prevent conflict and achieve sustained peace.
* Access the 53 page report:

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End the conflicts and we can help end hunger
by the World Food Programme
Dec. 2017
The vicious cycle of conflict and hunger must be broken if we are to achieve a world where everyone has enough to eat.
Conflict forces millions of people to abandon their land, homes and jobs - putting them at risk of hunger or even famine.
At the same time, hunger may contribute to conflict when coupled with poverty, unemployment or economic hardship.
The country is on the brink of famine with more than 17 million people not knowing where their next meal is coming from. WFP is providing food assistance for those most urgently in need.
Hundreds of thousands of people fleeing violence in Myanmar are facing food shortages. WFP has provided food (rice, lentils and oil) to nearly 700,000 people.
Seven years of war mean an estimated seven million people not having enough food. In September, WFP delivered food assistance for more than 3.3 million people.
A total 5.2 million people are facing hunger in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states. WFP has distributed food where markets are functioning and cash to more than a million people monthly in those states in 2017.
25,000 people face ‘famine conditions’ in Western Bahr el Ghazal and Jonglei. WFP has provided food assistance to millions, including rations to over 16,000 people and special nutritious food to almost 3,500 children in Baggari in September.
Since fighting started in Mosul in October last year, WFP has provided a regular lifeline of food assistance, reaching almost 1.9 million people within 72 hours of their arrival in camps and other areas.
More than three million people face dangerous levels of hunger, while the number of those on the brink of famine has doubled to 800,000 since February. WFP reached 2.2 million people in the worst affected areas in August.
Violence has uprooted more than a million people. Renewed fighting in the southeast, compounded by bad roads, have made it difficult to reach many areas and forced WFP to reduce the distribution cycle in some places.
With 3.2 million people severely hungry in the Greater Kasai region, WFP is increasing emergency assistance to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. We plan to reach almost half a million people by end December and accelerate the surge at the start of 2018.
WFP Executive Director David Beasley has visited several countries affected by conflict since he took up office in April, including Bangladesh, Somalia, South Sudan, Nigeria and Yemen. His message is clear:
“We have far too much violence and conflict, and that is why we have more people who are hungry and in need of assistance. I call on the people in power, the people with guns, to stop the fighting now.
“I saw people’s wounds with my own eyes and I heard their stories with my own ears. They were frightened, hungry and malnourished after enduring a nightmare that most people cannot even imagine. If we are truly going to end hunger, we must stop this kind of inhumanity.”
WFP needs up to US$6.8 billion this year to feed over 80 million people.
In Bangladesh for example we urgently need US$55 million to support one million people in Cox’s Bazar region. In Yemen our operations are little more than 50 percent funded.
Meanwhile shortages in South Sudan are mirrored in neighbouring countries where refugees have sought shelter, forcing WFP at times to cut rations in Uganda, Kenya and Ethiopia.
Number of people living in countries affected by conflict: 489 million
Number of stunted children in conflict-affected countries: 122 million out of 155 million
People living in countries affected by ongoing crises such as conflict are more than twice as likely to be undernourished than people elsewhere.

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