Pakistan, Afghanistan among global hunger hotspots: UN report
New York: Acute food insecurity is set to potentially increase in magnitude and severity in 18 hunger “Hotspots” comprising a total of 22 countries, which include Afghanistan and Pakistan, a new UN early warning report has found.
The report spotlights the risk of a spill-over of the Sudan crisis - raising the risk of negative impacts in the neighbouring countries, shows that deepening economic shocks continue to drive low- and middle-income nations deeper into crisis, and warns that a likely El Niño climatic phenomenon is raising fears of climate extremes in vulnerable countries around the globe.
The report - ‘Hunger Hotspots – FAO-WFP early warnings on acute food insecurity’ - issued today by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) calls for urgent humanitarian action to save lives and livelihoods and prevent starvation and death in hotspots where acute hunger is at a high risk of worsening from June to November 2023.
“Business-as-usual pathways are no longer an option in today’s risk landscape if we want to achieve global food security for all, ensuring that no one is left behind.” said QU Dongyu, FAO Director-General.
“We need to provide immediate time-sensitive agricultural interventions to pull people from the brink of hunger, help them rebuild their lives, and provide long-term solutions to address the root causes of food insecurity. Investing in disaster risk reduction in the agriculture sector can unlock significant resilience dividends and must be scaled up,” he added.
“Not only are more people in more places around the world going hungry, but the severity of the hunger they face is worse than ever,” said Cindy McCain, WFP’s Executive Director.
“This report makes it clear: we must act now to save lives, help people adapt to a changing climate, and ultimately prevent famine. If we don’t, the results will be catastrophic,” McCain warned.
According to the report, Afghanistan, Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen remain at the highest alert level.
Haiti, the Sahel (Burkina Faso and Mali) and the Sudan have been elevated to the highest concern levels; this is due to severe movement restrictions to people and goods in Burkina Faso, Haiti and Mali, and the recent outbreak of conflict in the Sudan.
All hotspots at the highest level have communities facing or projected to face starvation, or are at risk of sliding towards catastrophic conditions, given they have already emergency levels of food insecurity and are facing severe aggravating factors.
These hotspots require the most urgent attention, the report warns.
The Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Pakistan and Syria are hotspots with very high concern, and the alert is also extended to Myanmar in this edition.
All these hotspots have a large number of people facing critical acute food insecurity, coupled with worsening drivers that are expected to further intensify life‑threatening conditions in the coming months.
Lebanon has been added to the list of hotspots, joining Malawi and Central America (El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua) that remain hotspots.