The number of people facing hunger in the world has increased by 150 million since the beginning of the pandemic caused by Covid.
The United Nations has warned that the food crisis caused by Russia’s aggression in Ukraine risks pushing the most affected countries towards starvation.
Globally, the number of people suffering from chronic malnutrition rose to 828 million last year, an increase of about 46 million compared to the previous year, and three times higher if measured since the world shutdown due to Covid , has found a report.
With fuel, food and fertilizer prices rising since the start of the war, that total is expected to rise even further next year, a scenario that could see some of the world’s poorest facing extreme food shortages. .
“There is a real risk that these numbers will increase even more in the coming months. Global increases in food, fuel and fertilizer prices as a result of the crisis in Ukraine threaten to push countries around the world into famine. The result will be global destabilization, famine and mass migration on an unprecedented scale. We must act today to avert this impending disaster,” said David Beasley, executive director of the UN’s World Food Program (WFP).
Due to the uncertainty caused by the lingering impact of the Covid shutdowns, the report, which was released on Wednesday, estimated that the total for 2021 was somewhere between 702 million and 828 million.
If the last figure is correct, it means that 10.5% of the world’s population was in this situation during the past year.
Gilbert Houngbo, president of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), said chronic malnutrition is projected to affect nearly 670 million people by 2030, a figure similar to that in 2015, when the UN pledged to eradicate hunger by 2030 as part of the sustainable development goals.
“This means that all the efforts in those 15 years will be wiped out by the various crises that the world is going through,” he told The Guardian.
Urging the international community to “seize the moment” and make “a decisive change” in agricultural policy, he said: “Food aid is not the answer. And today, if we invest in the sustainability of local producers, we can avoid that famine.”
The tool used by the UN and the wider international community to measure food insecurity, the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) defines hunger as extreme food deprivation.
“Hunger, death, scarcity and extremely critical levels of acute malnutrition are or are likely to be evident,” the UN says.
The last officially declared famine was in parts of South Sudan in 2017. Before that, a famine in Somalia is estimated to have killed nearly 260,000 people between 2010 and 2012.
Both countries continue to suffer from acute food insecurity, and a WFP spokesman warned last month that only a massive humanitarian effort could prevent parts of Somalia from returning to famine in the coming months.
Translated by: Outney
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