WFP: 345 million people at risk of food insecurity
Every night, more than one-tenth of the world's population goes to bed hungry.
The UN food chief warned that up to 345 million people could face starvation and famine as part of a "global emergency", mainly in poorer countries where food insecurity is already widespread.
Speaking before the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) last week, David Beasley, Executive Director of the UN World Food Program (WFP), declared that the world is facing a "global emergency of unprecedented magnitude."
He stressed that 50 million people in 45 nations are already suffering from severe hunger and are "knocking on famine's door."
"What was a wave of hunger is now a tsunami of hunger," with a number of reasons contributing to the problem, including increased warfare, climatic disasters, rising food and fuel prices, and the current war in Ukraine, according to Beasley.
The COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the subsequent lockdowns and measures, also had a significant impact, he added, with the 345 million constituting a two-and-a-half times increase in individuals who experienced acute food insecurity before those events and their harm to global supply systems.
Despite a July agreement reached by Ukraine, Russia, Turkey, and the UN, which allowed Ukrainian grain shipments to restart exports from Black Sea ports and Russian fertilizer exports to resume, the problem is intensifying. "There is a real and dangerous risk of multiple famines this year," Beasley stressed, considering that most of the cargo, contrary to what the deal stipulates, is going to developed countries and not poor ones.
"And in 2023, the current food price crisis could develop into a food availability crisis if we don't act."
Referring again to the pandemic and the worldwide mobilization efforts to contain the spread of the virus, the WFP Head said the world "stepped up with funding and tremendous response, and we averted catastrophe."
He insisted the world is "on the edge once again, even worse, and we must do all that we can …The hungry people of the world are counting on us."
Beasley and UN Humanitarian Chief, Martin Griffiths, said the countries most at risk of famine are Ethiopia, north-east Nigeria, South Sudan, Yemen, Somalia, and Afghanistan, according to the UNSC.
Urging the UNSC to "leave no stone unturned" in attempting to end conflicts in those nations, Griffiths also emphasized the necessity to increase funding for humanitarian operations, saying UN appeals in the first four countries listed are "well below half of the required funding."