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Updated On: Monday, 16 September 2019

FAO Report on Global Food Crisis

Content by: South-South News

23 March 2018, New York, USA | South-South News — Around 124 million people in 51 countries face food insecurity or worse, and require urgent humanitarian action to save lives, protect livelihoods, and reduce hunger and malnutrition, according to a new Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) report.

Dominique Burgeon, the Director of Emergency and Rehabilitation Division, Strategic ProgramLeader, at the FAO, said, “Out of 124 million people in acute food insecurity, 74 million were living in 18 countries where conflicts have had a devastated impact. This is about 60 percent of the total number of people in food insecurity.”

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 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.

“Beside conflicts, natural disasters, climate extreme events such a droughts, for example, also have had a tremendous impact on people’s lives and livelihoods, and food security,” Burgeon said.

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.

The main drivers of food insecurity – conflict, displacement and climate shocks – along with outbreaks of diseases and limited access to basic health, drinking water and sanitation services have created a bleak malnutrition situation in many countries.

“What we need to do, even in the midst of conflict situations, we need to work at the root causes of the situation,” Burgeon said, “We need to work with the development actors, to make sure that the required investments are being made to build people’s resilience, to build people’s capacity to cope. Unless we do that, we’ll see the number of people in crises and in emergency phases in terms of food security, keep increasing.”

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