A “TSUNAMI OF HUNGER” AND “REAL AND DANGEROUS RISK OF MULTIPLE FAMINES THIS YEAR,” DAVID BEASLEY, HEAD OF UN WORLD FOOD PROGRAMME WARNS; 345 MILLION FACE STARVATION WORLDWIDE
The United Nations food chief has warned the world is facing “a global emergency of unprecedented magnitude” with up to 345 million people marching towards starvation – and 70 million pushed closer to starvation by the war in Ukraine.
David Beasley, executive director of the UN World Food Programme, told the UN Security Council on Thursday the 345 million people facing acute food insecurity in the 82 countries where the agency operates is more than twice the number of acutely food insecure people before the COVID-19 pandemic hit in 2020.
He said it is incredibly troubling that 50 million of those people in 45 countries are suffering from very acute malnutrition and are “knocking on famine’s door”.
“What was a wave of hunger is now a tsunami of hunger,” he said, pointing to rising conflict, the pandemic’s economic ripple effects, climate change, rising fuel prices and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Since Russia invaded its neighbour on February 24, Beasley said, soaring food, fuel and fertiliser costs have driven 70 million people closer to starvation.
Despite an agreement in July allowing Ukrainian grain to be shipped from three Black Sea ports blockaded by Russia and continuing efforts to get Russian fertiliser back to global markets, “there is a real and dangerous risk of multiple famines this year”, he said.
“And in 2023, the current food price crisis could develop into a food availability crisis if we don’t act.”
‘All hands on deck’
The Security Council was focusing on conflict-induced food insecurity and the risk of famine in Ethiopia, northeastern Nigeria, South Sudan and Yemen. But Beasley and UN humanitarian chief Martin Griffiths also warned about the food crisis in Somalia, which they both recently visited, and Griffiths also put Afghanistan high on the list.
“Famine will happen in Somalia. Be sure it won’t be the only place either,” Griffiths said.
To read more, click here: https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2022/9/16/un-warns-up-to-345-million-people-marching-towards-starvation