UN warns 345 million people march for hunger


The head of the United Nations’ food industry on Thursday warned that the world was facing a “global emergency of an unprecedented magnitude”, with 345 million people marching on hunger – and 70 Millions of people were pushed to the point of starvation due to the war in Ukraine.

David Beasley, executive director of the UN World Food Program, told the UN Security Council that 345 million people are facing severe food insecurity in the 82 countries where the agency operates. activities, one and a half times the number of people who were severely food insecure before COVID. -19 pandemic occurs in 2020.

He said it was extremely worrying that 50 million people in these 45 countries were suffering from acute malnutrition and were “knocking on the door of hunger”.

“The hunger wave was once a tsunami,” he said, pointing to growing conflict, the economic impact of the pandemic, climate change, rising fuel prices and the war in Ukraine.

Since Russia invaded the neighboring country on February 24, the soaring costs of food, fuel and fertilizer have brought 70 million people closer to starvation, says Beasley.

he said. “And by 2023, the current food price crisis could evolve into a food availability crisis if we don’t act.”

The Security Council is focusing on food insecurity due to conflict and the potential for famine in Ethiopia, northeastern Nigeria, South Sudan and Yemen. But Beasley and UN humanitarian chief Martin Griffiths also warned of the food crisis in Somalia, which they both visited recently, and Griffiths also put Afghanistan on the high list.

“Famine will happen in Somalia,” Griffiths said, and “make sure that won’t be the only place either.”

He cites recent assessments that identify “hundreds of thousands of people are facing catastrophic levels of hunger”, meaning they are at the worst levels of “famine”.

Beasley recalled his warning to the council in April 2020 “that we were facing a famine then, a famine of biblical proportions.” He said then the world “enhanced with tremendous funding and response, and we averted the disaster.”

“We are on the brink again, even worse, and we have to do all we can – all we can on deck with every fiber of our body,” he said. our. “The hungry people of the world are counting on us, and … we must not let them down.”

Griffiths said widespread and growing food insecurity is the result of direct and indirect effects of conflict and violence that kill and injure civilians, forcing families to flee the region. land on which they depend for income and food, leading to economic decline and rising prices. food that they cannot afford.

After more than seven years of war in Yemen, he said, “about 19 million people – six out of 10 – are severely food insecure, an estimated 160,000 people are facing disasters and 538,000 children. severely malnourished.”

Beasley said the Ukraine war is causing inflation in Yemen, which is 90% dependent on food imports. The World Food Program hopes to provide aid to about 18 million people, but its costs have increased 30% this year to $2.6 billion. As a result, it was forced to cut back, so Yemenis this month received only two-thirds of their former rations, he said.

Beasley said South Sudan faces “the highest rate of severe hunger since independence in 2011” from Sudan. He said 7.7 million people, over 60% of the population, are “faced with severe or worse food insecurity.” Without a political solution to the escalating violence and substantial spending on aid programs, he warned, “many people in South Sudan will die”.

In the Tigray, Afar and Amhara regions of northern Ethiopia, more than 13 million people need life-saving food, Griffiths said. He points to a survey in Tigray in June that found that 89% of people are food insecure, “more than half of them seriously.” Beasley said a truce in March gave WFP and its partners access to nearly 5 million people in the Tigray area, but continued fighting in recent weeks “risks leaving many families starving.” , exhausted to the brink.”

In the northeast of Nigeria, the UN forecasts 4.1 million people are facing high levels of food insecurity, of which 588,000 people face a high level of emergency between June and August, Griffiths said. know. He said that nearly half of those people could not be contacted because it was unsafe, and the United Nations feared “some people could have reached catastrophic levels and died.”

Griffiths called on the Security Council to “leave no stone” in trying to end these conflicts and increase funding for humanitarian operations, and said the UN’s protests United Nations in those four countries are “less than half of what is needed.”

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