Two UN agencies have warned of rising food emergencies including starvation in Sudan due to the outbreak of war and in Haiti, Burkina Faso and Mali due to restricted movements of people and goods.
The four countries join Afghanistan, Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen at the highest alert levels, with communities that are already facing or projected to face starvation or otherwise risk a slide “towards catastrophic conditions.”
The report by the World Food Program and the Food and Agriculture Organization calls for urgent attention to save both lives and jobs. Beyond the nine countries rating the highest level of concern, the agencies said 22 countries are identified as “hotspots’’ risking acute food insecurity.
“Business-as-usual pathways are no longer an option in today’s risk landscape if we want to achieve global food security for all, ensuring that no one is left behind.” said Qu Dongyu, FAO Director-General.
He called for immediate action in the agricultural sector “to pull people back from the brink of hunger, help them rebuild their lives and provide long-term solution to address the root causes of food insecurities.”
The report cited a possible spillover of the conflict in Sudan, deepening economic crises in poor nations and rising fears that the El Nino climatic phenomenon forecast for mid-2023 could provoke climate extremes in vulnerable countries.
The report warns that 1 million people are expected to flee Sudan, while an additional 2.5 million inside Sudan face acute hunger in the coming months as supply routes through Port Sudan are disrupted by safety issues.
WFP Executive Director Cindy McCain warned of “catastrophic”consequences unless there is clear action to “help people adapt to a changing climate and ultimately prevent famine.”
“Not only are more people in more places around the world going hungry, but the severit y of the hunger they face is worse than ever,” McCain said.
In December, the UN Children's Fund had also warned that the number of children facing dire drought conditions across Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia has more than doubled to around 20.2 million, as climate crisis, conflict, global inflation and grain shortages devastate the Horn of Africa region.
“As the world gets ready to welcome 2023, UNICEF urges the int’l community to commit now for what might hit the Horn of Africa next year,” UNICEF Director for Eastern and Southern Africa Mohamed Fall said.
It appealed for $759 million to provide life-saving support to children in 2023.