The number of people who do not have enough to eat on a daily basis hit an all-time high last year and is set to reach ‘appalling’ new levels as the war in Ukraine affects global food production, say said the United Nations.
Nearly 193 million people in 53 countries suffered from acute food insecurity in 2021, the UN said in a report released Wednesday as a “toxic triple combination” of conflict, extreme weather and the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic. coronavirus.
The number of hungry people rose by 25% last year and the toll is growing as the war in Ukraine drives up food prices.
Conflicts in countries like Ethiopia and Afghanistan have deepened crises there, and economic shocks from the Covid-19 pandemic have curtailed access to food in nearly two dozen countries, the Network said. world against food crises. Extreme weather conditions, such as a severe drought in Madagascar, also exacerbate the problem.
“Today, if more is not done to support rural communities, the scale of the devastation in terms of hunger and loss of livelihoods will be appalling”the UN said. “Urgent humanitarian action is needed on a large scale to prevent this from happening,” he added.
According to the report, countries experiencing protracted conflicts, including Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Ethiopia, Nigeria, South Sudan, Syria and Yemen, had the populations most at risk of food insecurity.
The UN has previously said the war in Ukraine is helping to drive up the prices of basic commodities such as grains and vegetable oils to record highs, threatening millions of people with hunger and malnutrition.
“When we look at the consequences of what is happening as a result of the war in Ukraine, there are real reasons to worry about how this will amplify the acute food needs that exist in these countries in food crisis”said Rein Paulsen, director of FAO’s Office for Emergencies and Resilience.
The FAO noted that several countries facing major food crises obtained almost all of their wheat imports from Russia and Ukraine last year, including Somalia, DRC and Madagascar, and warned that ” the prospects for the future are not good”.
“Urgent humanitarian action is needed on a large scale to prevent this from happening. There’s no time to lose “, said the FAO.