UN: 34 million people in more than 20 countries at risk of starvation

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From Afghanistan to Venezuela and Mozambique to Mali acute hunger is projected to rise steeply in many world regions, but especially heavily in Africa, says the World Hunger Hotspots report issued by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, FAO, released this week. “Over 34 million people are grappling with emergency levels of acute hunger (IPC4)– meaning they are one step away from starvation - across the world,” says FAO.

South Sudan, Burkina Faso, Yemen, and parts of Northern Nigeria are reported as the most precarious but acute hunger is set to soar in over 20 countries, warns the report, though 16m Yemenis and 7m South Sudanese are expected to face high levels of acute food insecurity by June.

Conflict, violence, the Covid pandemic, climate extremes, la Niña-driven weather, Desert Locust outbreaks, and increasingly constrained access in some countries are listed by FAO as the factors driving the crisis.

The risk of famine conditions is driven by already highly vulnerable populations, severe malnutrition, rising displacement, and the deteriorating economic situation, says FAO, reporting that a combination of humanitarian food assistance, cash, and emergency livelihood interventions is urgently necessary.

By Milan Sime Martinic