The number of people affected by food crises remains at alarming levels

April 02, 2019

More than 113 million people across 53 countries experienced acute hunger requiring urgent food, nutrition and livelihoods assistance in 2018, according to a new report published today in Brussels.

The 2019 Global Report on Food Crises, a product of the Global Network against Food Crises, was presented jointly by the European Union, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), and the UN World Food Programme (WFP) at a high level event dedicated to food & agriculture in times of crisis.

The conference, taking place on 2-3 April 2019 in Brussels, will look at innovative approaches and solutions for preventing and addressing food crises, plus a roadmap for joint future action.

Countries in Africa remained disproportionally affected by food insecurity

According to the report, the worst food crises in 2018, in order of severity, were in: Yemen, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Afghanistan, Ethiopia, the Syrian Arab Republic, Sudan, South Sudan and northern Nigeria.

These eight countries accounted for two thirds of the total number of people facing acute food insecurity - amounting to nearly 72 million people.

Over 100 million people annually faced periods of acute hunger in the last three years

The figure of 113 million people represents a slight improvement over the number for 2017 presented in last year's report, in which an estimated 124 million people in 51 countries faced acute hunger.

The modest decrease is largely attributed to changes in climate shocks.

A number of highly exposed countries did not experience the intensity of climate-related shocks and stressors that they had experienced in 2017 when they variously faced severe drought, flooding, erratic rains and temperature rises brought on by the El Niño of 2015-16.

These include countries in southern and eastern Africa, the Horn of Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, and the Asia-Pacific region.

An additional 142 million people in a subset of 42 countries were found to be living in Stressed conditions on the cusp of severe hunger (IPC/CH Phase 2).

They risked slipping into Crisis or worse (IPC/CH Phase 3 or above) if faced with a shock or stressor.

Acute and chronic malnutrition in children persists

High levels of acute and chronic malnutrition in children living in emergency conditions remained of grave concern.

The immediate drivers of undernutrition include poor dietary intake and disease.

Mothers and caregivers often face challenges in providing children with the nutrients they need at critical growth periods in food crises.

This is reflected in the dismally low number of children consuming a minimum acceptable diet in most of the countries profiled in this report.

Disease outbreaks were also widespread in many of these contexts as a result of poor sanitation and hygiene and the limited capacity response of trained healthy systems.

Primary drivers - conflict and insecurity, followed by climate and natural disasters

Conflict and insecurity remained the key driver of food crises in 2018. Some 74 million people, over the half of those facing acute hunger were located in 21 countries affected by conflict or insecurity.

Around 33 million of these people were in 10 countries in Africa; over 27 million were in seven countries in Western Asia and Middle East; 13 million were in three countries in South and South-east Asia and 1.1 million in Eastern Europe.

Climate and natural disasters pushed another 28 million people into situations of acute food insecurity in 2018.

As in previous years, most of these individuals were in Africa, where nearly 23 million people in 20 countries were acutely food insecure due to climate shocks.

Economic shocks were the primary driver of acute food insecurity for 10.2 million people, mainly in Sudan, Burundi and Zimbabwe.

Food insecurity: short-term outlook for 2019

Yemen, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Afghanistan, Ethiopia, the Syrian Arab Republic, Sudan, South Sudan and northern Nigeria are expected to remain among the world's most severe food crises in 2019.

Large segments of populations in most of these countries risk falling into Emergency (IPC/CH Phase 4) levels of acute food insecurity if no action is taken.

Climate shocks and conflict will continue driving food insecurity and are expected to severely affect several regions.

The flooding due to cyclone Idai that followed a rather dry weather in parts of Southern Africa is compounding the already fragile food security in the region.

The drought in Central America's Dry Corridor has dampened prospects for agricultural output and probable El Niño conditions are likely to have an impact on agricultural production and food prices in Central America and the Caribbean.

The needs of refugees and migrants in host countries are expected to remain significant, namely in Bangladesh and in countries hosting Syrian refugees as well as for displaced populations in South Sudan, DRC, Central African Republic and Somalia.

The number of people who are displaced, refugees and migrants are expected to increase if the political and economic crisis persists in Venezuela.

The way forward - tackling the root causes

The authors of the report put ending conflicts, empowering women, nourishing and educating children, improving rural infrastructure and reinforcing social safety-nets as essential for a resilient, stable and hunger-free world.

In the last ten years, humanitarian assistance and spending needs have grown by almost 130 percent, with only approximately 40 percent covering needs in the food and agriculture subsectors.

The surge in humanitarian needs, as well as the potential for agricultural development and rural resilience-building to provide a buffer against crises - highlights the need for a new way of responding to the food security challenges.

The authors of the report point to the need for simultaneous action across the humanitarian-development nexus, such as investments in conflict prevention and sustaining peace, which will result in saving lives and livelihoods, reducing structural vulnerabilities and addressing the root causes of hunger.
-end-
Background information

The Global Report on Food Crises focuses specifically on the most severe manifestations of acute food insecurity in the world's most pressing food crises, complementing the evidence reported by The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2018, which identifies 821million undernourished people.

The Global Report on Food Crises coordinated by the Food Security Information Network and compiled in cooperation with the JRC, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), the World Food Programme (WFP), and several other organisations, identifies crucial countries and regions where assistance should be prioritised to bridge the gap between emergency and development operations.

It's based on the methodology developed and tested by JRC in the first global report in 2016.

In the last six years, the EU has been assisting around 26 million food-insecure people through social transfers or livelihood support from long-term development assistance.

Selected results show that in that period almost 18 million women of reproductive age, adolescent girls and children under 5 have been reached; in 40 partner countries, the prevalence of stunting has decreased over 5 years.

Since 2014 more than 3 million smallholder farmers have received support for more sustainable production and better access to markets and land; between 2013 and 2017, 800 000 women and men achieved secure land tenure.

Over the same period, 3.8 million smallholder farmers benefited from rural advisory services; sustainable land management practices were implemented across more than 4 million hectares of land.

European Commission Joint Research Centre

Related Food Insecurity Articles from Brightsurf:

Some U.S. states hit harder by COVID-19 food insecurity
Food insecurity in America is reaching an all-time high during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Food insecurity linked to higher risk of cardiovascular death
A new, large-scale, national study provides evidence of the link between food insecurity and increased risk of cardiovascular death.

Penn Medicine researchers find link between food insecurity and cardiovascular death risk
According to preliminary research conducted by researchers at Penn Medicine, increasing rates of food insecurity in counties across the United States are independently associated with an increase in cardiovascular death rates among adults between the ages of 20 and 64.

New UTSA research identifies link between food insecurity and unengaged distance learning
A new study by the UTSA Urban Education Institute found that 26% of local students and parents surveyed said they were experiencing food insecurity, meaning food ran out and they didn't have more.

Rates of food insecurity remain high despite expansion of NYC food assistance programs
In the latest COVID-19 tracking survey from the CUNY Graduate School of Public Health & Health Policy conducted from September 25 to 27, 34% of the sample of one thousand New York City adults reported that their households had received SNAP benefits since September 1st, 2020.

Three-quarters of migrants traveling to US through Mexico experience food insecurity
A survey of Central American migrants traveling through Mexico on their way to the United States found that 74 percent of them experienced a degree of food insecurity, ranging from having only one meal to no food at all for one day or longer.

As food insecurity continues to plague New Yorkers, impact on children is worrisome
One in four households with children have reported a child experiencing hunger as a result of the COVID-19 health crisis, according to the latest CUNY SPH COVID-19 tracking survey.

'Building wealth and health network' reduces food insecurity without providing food
As the coronavirus pandemic forces so many to reckon with growing food insecurity and increased health challenges, the Building Wealth and Health Network program of Drexel University's Center for Hunger-Free Communities is reducing food insecurity and improving mental health - without distributing any food or medicine.

Survey shows regions of elevated food insecurity due to COVID-19 pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic has led to elevated levels of food insecurity in the southern US compared to other areas, according to new research from University of Arkansas sociologists.

Survey: Food insecurity in Vermont rose 33% during pandemic
Food insecurity in Vermont has increased by one-third during the coronavirus pandemic, according to a statewide survey conducted by the University of Vermont at the end of March.

Read More: Food Insecurity News and Food Insecurity Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.