Humanitarian chief Martin Griffiths recalled previous warnings about the impact of conflict in Ethiopia,
He spoke of his recent trip to Somalia, where more than 200,000 people are now at risk of starvation – the number is expected to reach 300,000 by November – “with millions more” outside. the brink of famine.
Recent humanitarian assessments have identified hundreds of thousands of people facing catastrophic levels of famine, or stage 5 of the Integrated Stage Classification system – the final, most devastating stage.
Hunger is used as a tactic of war – UN Emergency Relief Coordinator
“It’s simply not worse than that,” says OCHA Chief, noting that widespread suffering is caused by direct and indirect effects of conflict and the “behavior of the fighting parties”.
‘Tactics of War’
Mr. Griffiths commented that “a similar pattern repeats itself in each setting”, outlining how civilians are killed and wounded; forcibly displaced families; market access and jobs are disrupted; food warehouses were looted; while the overall economic slowdown makes food out of reach for the vulnerable.
“In the most extreme cases, the fighting parties have deliberately cut off access to commercial supplies and essential services on which civilians depend for survival,” he said.
“Hunger is used as a tactic of war”.
While humanitarians have extended “relief lines,” interference, harassment and attacks often prevent access to those in need.
“Humanitarians will stay and provide, but the conditions in some contexts are unacceptable,” the OCHA chief said.
Meanwhile, drought, rising global commodity prices and the impact of COVID-19 and the war in Ukraine is also increasing food insecurity and hardship.
And people in South Sudan, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Yemen, Afghanistan and Somalia are literally “on the front lines of climate change” as they face drought, flooding, desertification and water scarcity. .
© UNICEF / Owis Alhamdan
More than seven years of armed conflict in Yemen devastated and left about 19 million people food insecure.
“An estimated 160,000 people are facing disasters and 538,000 children are severely malnourished,” said the relief coordinator.
Last year, South Sudan is one of the most dangerous places to work as aid workers, with 319 incidents of violence targeting humanitarian personnel and property.
Meanwhile, more than 13 million people across Afar, Amhara and Tigray in Ethiopianeed life-saving food support.
While improvements in the delivery of humanitarian assistance have been seen in northern Ethiopia, “the resumption of hostilities in recent weeks is undermining recent progress,” he said.
Turn to the northeast NigeriaThe UN forecasts that 4.1 million people are facing severe food insecurity in the conflict-affected states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe, including 588,000 who already face severe levels of food insecurity. emergency from June to August – nearly half of which cannot be contacted for humanitarian assistance.
“It is not possible to conduct a food security assessment in these areas, but we are concerned that some people may be already at disaster levels and at risk of death,” he said.
© WFP / Arete / Siegfried Modola
The humanitarian chief reminded ambassadors that actions can be taken, starting with leaving no room for uncertainty in the pursuit of “peaceful and negotiated solutions” to conflicts. and other violent situations.
Second, States and armed groups must comply with their obligations under international humanitarian and human rights law to ensure unhindered humanitarian relief.
Mr. Griffiths also stressed that climate change is an issue “at the heart of peace and security” both now “and indeed for decades to come”.
He called on all Member States to prioritize “a longer-term approach and secure a substantial proportion of funding – such as grants – to loans – to adapt and reduce climate mitigation”.
“Time is not on our side,” he concluded.
Time is not by our side – UN Emergency Relief Coordinator
Having just returned from a trip to Central America, the World Food Program (WFP) Director David Beasley has seen firsthand how the conflict is “adding fire to the flames” of what is already a severe hunger crisis.
From the arduous Darién Gap crossing, to Guatemala, he recounts the “tragic stories” of those who migrated north “in desperation.”
“The impact of the climate crisis and the ongoing ripple effects of COVID have exhausted many families’ ability to cope,” he said.
“People feel they have nothing left – they can stay and starve, or leave and risk their lives for a chance at a better future.”
‘Unprecedented’ global emergency
The head of WFP argues that in the face of the growing threat of mass famine and famine, “we are facing a global emergency of unprecedented magnitude”.
And since the Ukraine conflict began, “a wave of hunger has turned into a “tsunami”, he continued, noting that as many as 345 million people in 82 countries are “moving towards starvation”.
“This is a record high – now more than 2.5 times the number of people who were severely food insecure before the pandemic started.”
Mr. Beasley presented astonishing statistics about the dire situation facing hundreds of millions of people around the world.
As raging conflicts push millions of “innocent civilians closer to starvation, insecurity crises threaten to linger out of control”.
“The hungry people of the world are counting on us to do the right thing – and we must not let them down,” Mr. Beasley concluded.
Unsplash / Scott Umstattd